Superior Council considers public comment on Fraser Industries … – Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — The public gets an opportunity to weigh in on a plan by Fraser Industries to invest in an expansion that could nearly double its workforce over the next few years.

The Superior City Council plans to hold a public hearing as councilors consider authorizing the mayor to consent to the Public Finance Authority issuing $40 million in tax-exempt bonds in support of the $100 million plan to expand the facility.

Fraser Industries has been owned by Infrastructure Acquisition Partners, a joint venture of Cleaves Invest of Norway and Chicago-based Foundry Mountain Infrastructure Partners, since June 2021.

Since then, company officials have identified

opportunities to add a terminal operation onsite as well as serve the railroad industry maintenance and storage needs on the 60-acre site.

Currently, shipyard operations only occupy 15 acres of Fraser Industries property around Howard’s Pocket.

“We are not the issuers,” said Jason Serck, economic development, port and planning director. He said the Public Finance Authority would issue the bonds, but the city and county have to give their consent.

“The city and county could issue these bonds,” Serck said. “They actually make a little bit of money; however, that’s a lot of dough and a little bit of risk. Fraser, quite frankly, never even approached us to look at this.”

However, Fraser CEO Patrick Kelly did request the city’s consent to seek the bonds through the Public Finance Authority, which was created for the purpose of issuing tax-exempt and taxable conduit bonds for public and private entities nationwide for projects that are important to the community and present no risk to the taxpayer or any state or local government.

“Statutorily, we have to give permission,” Serck said. “The county’s already done it.”

The public hearing, which is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 in Room 201 of the Government Center, is part of that process, Serck said.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or

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