What’s Happening in Front of the School? A SRTS Demonstration Project!

If you have walked, biked, or driven by the intersection in front of Cook County Schools (CR7 & 1st Ave W) at the very end of May 2018, you might be wondering what’s going on.

For nine years, the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Committee in Grand Marais has been working to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to/from school. This spring, a variety of projects have been done towards this goal, from crosswalk enforcement events (educating about the crosswalks laws) to Walk/Bike to School Day and the Bike Safety Rodeo.

On May 30, the SRTS Committee, including Cook County Schools, the City of Grand Marais, Cook County Highway Department, and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, started the installation of a temporary demonstration project at the intersection of County Road 7 and 1st Avenue West in front of Cook County Schools. While full installation was planned for May 30, Mother Nature had other plans. Most of the project was completed on May 31. A few revisions were made on June 2nd, to better accommodate right hand turns.

The project is an opportunity to try out a few different techniques to increase safety of students on foot and bike. The Committee will be conducting a survey (available here) and other evaluation to learn what might be helpful in the long term or what else may be tried in the short term. The project is scheduled to be up until fall, but the vertical elements (the orange posts) will be removed before snow plowing season.

This is locally led project and the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Program at MnDOT has provided technical assistance on project planning. MnDOT is planning to offer support for communities across the state to try this type of demonstration project, which can include crosswalks, curb extensions, bicycle lanes, etc.  For more information about the local project, please contact Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Maren Webb, maren@sawtoothmountainclinic.org or 387-2330. The local Safe Routes to School work is supported in part by the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership/Minnesota Department of Health through Healthy Northland. Additional support for this project is provided by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, through the Moving Matters project at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic.



Moving Matters’ Projects in Pulling Together Videos

Moving Matters, a project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, is supported by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. As part of its 'Pulling Together' initiative, the Center for Prevention has been highlighting projects from across the state that are working to create healthy communities in Minnesota. Three 'real stories' videos are now available, highlighting some of the work happening Cook County, MN, through Moving Matters.

For more information about Pulling Together and the Center for Prevention, visit here.

Thirteen New Great Place Projects Across Cook County and Grand Portage

2015 GPP Recipient

The Cook County Chamber of Commerce and the Moving Matters project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Great Place Project. Twenty seven local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals submitted creative ideas from across Cook County and Grand Portage. $10,000 in grants will be awarded to 13 recipients to help create great places within our communities.

“It’s both gratifying and exciting to see so many creative applications in the second year of the Great Place Project,” said Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce. “Our county already is a Great Place; these projects make it a bit greater, and we all get to enjoy the results.”

The Great Place Project is a friendly, local competition for mini-grants to use high impact, low cost ideas to create great places in our communities. A great place is inviting, beautiful, and catches the eye. It reflects the unique character and identity of the community. And a great place encourages people to slow down and spend time there. “We know that people will be active where they have pleasant and safe places to do so. The Great Place Project has been an incredible opportunity to invest in community spaces and the health of our community” said Moving Matters Coordinator Kristin DeArruda Wharton.

2015 Grant Recipients:

Arrowhead Pharmacy: Mural paintings by local artist Betsy Bowen, complemented by seating and landscaping.

Birchbark Books and Gifts: Locally themed mural paintings with hidden books by local artist Tim Young.

Border Designs: Rustic park bench and plantings by walking path in Lutsen.

Cook County Higher Education: Welcoming entrance with plantings, enhanced walking path, and picnic table.

Cook County Historical Society: Gathering place with plantings, seating, and enhanced bike parking at museum.

Grand Portage Wellness Committee: Community Park gathering table and grill in Grand Portage.

Java Moose: Chair seating by the Grand Marais Harbor, at both café locations.

Kah-Nee-Tah Gallery: Log bench seating area with plantings.

Last Chance Studio: Moose sculpture created by local artist Tom Christianson.

Oddz and Endz: Resting spot with benches, tables, and planters using repurposed and recycled materials.

Schroeder Area Historical Society: ADA accessible viewfinder at Taconite Harbor.

Tofte Historical Society: Planters to enhance the plaza at the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum.

Visit Cook County: Enhancement of Grand Marais Visitor Center common area with benches and planters.

The Great Place Project is sponsored by the Moving Matters project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and the Cook County Chamber of Commerce. The Moving Matters project, with funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Center for Prevention, is working to create safer and more accessible places to walk and bike in Cook County and Grand Portage.

Published in the Cook County News-Herald, 4/18/15 edition.