Financial burden topic of concern for KML board

EAGLE RIVER — While the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge board discusses the feasibility of operating the lodge next year if it does not sell, one of the main concerns is the financial drain to the county of opening the facility in 2018.

“I think this is just something that you don’t make a decision on right now,” Don Piche, board chairman said. “It’s something you talk about it and think about it,” Piche said. “What people need to understand is that we put $151,000 out of the general fund this year to get it running.”

Del Rajala, board member, projected that figure would most likely be similar for next year.

Jim Vivian, fellow board member, said that he is uncertain about making a decision before the financial statements through the end of the 2017 operating year are completed and studied.

Robert Demarois, board member, agreed with Vivian, saying he would like to see the financial statements for the year at the end of the season before making a final decision. The idea of transferring another $151,000 from the general county fund to the lodge was unacceptable, he said.

“I’m not trying to waffle on this,” Sandra Gayk said, “but I also feel that as much of a drain as this has been on Keweenaw County, it’s also an asset that we need to make sure we protect. We can’t just let the golf course be neglected, or the buildings — I just can’t believe it’s not going to sell, and you’re saying ‘what if it doesn’t?’ I can’t say.”

The Keweenaw County board was ordered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development earlier this year to list the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge on the market for $1.5 million because of the county’s inability to repay loans to that organization. Rural Development, in a letter to the board, stated the lodge was to be listed for six months, after which time the loan would again be addressed if the lodge did not sell in that period.