A federal judge this week dismissed a lawsuit leveled by the city of Duluth against the Fond du Lac band’s plan to base its casino operations out of a downtown hotel.
The city and the tribe have feuded for years over the Fond du Luth Casino after the band ended a revenue-sharing agreement that used to pump millions of dollars in casino revenue into the city coffers. No other sovereign tribe in Minnesota shares casino profits with outside governments, but Duluth cut a deal with the tribe decades ago — a share of revenue in exchange for the city ceding a chunk of downtown real estate to the tribe, whose own lands sit to the south, around Cloquet.
The lawsuits that followed have raged through federal courts for years. Last week, the Associated Press reports, U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson ruled that the city does not have the authority to approve or contest the band’s move, since the hotel will be part of the reservation, cut off from city taxes or city enforcement of public nuisance ordinances.
Lights display hits goal
A massive Christmas lights show in Willmar has surpassed its goal of raising $80,000 to $100,000 for the local Salvation Army.
Chad Koosman, the display’s maestro, reported that on Christmas Eve, visitors and companies donated $21,640. On Christmas Day: $20,405. Those hefty sums brought this year’s total to $110,000, with days to go.
Koosman’s blinking, bopping light show — which requires 45 miles of LED lights, 7 miles of extension cords and 15,000 zip ties — and its red kettle have brought in big money for the Salvation Army over the years. Last year, the show, called “Celebrate the Light of the World,” raised $70,000. Koosman and his wife, Angela, have promised to host the display each year until they’ve raised $1 million.
This year’s show runs through Jan. 4. “We’re still ringin,” Koosman wrote in an e-mail.
Duluth school district
Old high school bought
The hilltop site that was once Central High School in Duluth will be developed for housing.
Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors has agreed to purchase the 77 acres from the Duluth School District for $10 million, the parties announced last week. It’s still early, but the Minneapolis-based firm plans “a mixed-use project that will include multiple types of housing and commercial uses,” partner Thomas Lund said by phone.
The former high school, unused since 2011, will be razed. But the old Secondary Technical Center will be reused.
Because of Harbor Bay’s work with the city on another project — a 148-unit apartment complex on London Road — a city staffer invited the firm’s partners to tour the Central site.
“The views really speak for themselves,” Lund said.