About Us

The City of Tower was incorporated on March 13, 1889, making it the second oldest city in the Arrowhead region behind only Duluth. Tower has a long history closely tied to the riches of its natural resources from the forests, lakes, wildlife, fish - and iron ore. For many centuries Tower and Lake Vermilion Area have been home to native peoples, who fished and hunted the land. In the later 1600s the first Europeans came as fur traders. By the late 1800s the population burgeoned as people came to log, trade, and mine the rich iron ore deposits of our sister city Soudan. Today our lives remain closely tied to our abundant natural resources. Though mining ceased in the 1960s, the forests, lakes, and parks, with their beauty and endless year-round recreational opportunities, anchor our community – for residents and visitors alike. We are also proud of our well-rounded business community, quality elementary and high school, health services, civic clubs that help our city thrive and make it a great place to live – or visit.

 Mission, Vision, Values

The City of Tower's mission, vision and values are to make Tower:

  • a place where people of all ages can live a high quality of life with excellent healthcare, education, infrastructure and services;

  • a place where locals and tourists can enjoy an endless variety of recreation, history, culture, and outdoors activities throughout the year and have a place to stay, eat and shop, making it a true year-round destination and hub for Lake Vermilion and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness;

  • a place where children and families can grow and thrive with safe parks and recreational facilities and good, living wage jobs;

  • a place where communities come together to take pride in an active, supportive, clean, organized, self-sustaining community where you know your neighbors;

  • a place where everyone will desire to and have the ability to call home.

 City of Tower Charter

The City of Tower Charter, (adopted in 1997) is the constitution governing the City. The Charter defines the powers the citizens agree to give their city government and how the government is to be structured. State laws may pass laws that may preempt the City Charter, but also give cities a wide range of discretion to draft charters that will meet the specific needs of the community and the power to make changes that fit its own needs by amending its charter.


City of Tower Charter

 City Mayor & Council Members

The cornerstone of city government in Minnesota is the elected city council. The council is responsible for fashioning the policies that govern the City for its present and future well-being. Tower, a Home Rule Charter City under the statutes of the State of Minnesota, has a Mayor/Council Plan as its form of government. All elected Council members are residents of and qualified voters in the City of Tower. The Mayor is elected for a four-year term. Each Councilor is also elected for a four-year term, with two elected at each general municipal election.

Mayor

Member
Orlyn Kringstad
 (218) 290-5582
 orlyn@cityoftower.com
 Term Expires: December 31, 2022
Tower/Breitung Wastewater Board, Gundersen Trust Board, TEDA Board




Council Members

Member
Sheldon Majerle
 (218) 780-4150
 Term Expires: December 31, 2022
Airport Commission, Gundersen Trust Board




Member
Joe Morin
 joe.morin@cityoftower.com
 Term Expires: December 31, 2022




Member
Kevin Norby
 (952) 451-3284
 norby@cityoftower.com
 Term Expires: December 31, 2024




Member
Dave Setterberg
 david.setterberg@cityoftower.com
 Term Expires: December 31, 2024
Acting Mayor, Attends Ambulance Commission and Ambulance and Fire Departments meetings and trainings




Member
Mary Shedd
 (218) 830-2457
 mary@cityoftower.com
 Term Expires: November 13, 2020
Planning/Zoning Commission, Chair; Forestry Board; Zoning Administrator




 Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive planning is an important tool to guide future development of land to ensure a safe, pleasant, and economical environment for residential, commercial, industrial, and public activities. In 2014 the two closely-tied communities of City of Tower and Town of Breitung (Soudan) updated their joint comprehensive plan. This plan is an expression of our community’s vision for the future and a strategic map to reach that vision. The plan addresses goals and objectives for livability, economic development, housing affordability, recreation, public facilities, and intergovernmental cooperation and environmental, historic, and cultural resources.


2015 City of Tower – Breitung Township Joint Comprehensive Plan

 City Ordinances

The City of Tower’s ordinances are municipal laws passed by the City Council that are address the health, public safety, land use, and the general welfare of our citizens.

Ord # Topic Notes
 01Regulating Water Systems Controlling and regulating the water system in the City of Tower.
 01-ARegulating Water Systems Amending Ordinance #1, sections 4 & 7
 01-BRegulating Water Systems Amending section xviii of ordinance no. 1 and repeals ordinance no. 1-a.
 01-CRegulating Water Systems Amends Section 9 of Ordinance No. 1
 02Establishing Sewer Use Regulations
 03Establishing a Sewer Service Charge.
 04Regulating Bids and Contracts Regulating the making of bids and letting of contracts for the doing of work or for the furnishing of material or property to the City of Tower.
 05Making of Improvements & Levying Assessments Providing for the making of improvements in the City of Tower prescribing procedure in making such improvements and levying assessments therefore against benefited property.
 06Regulating the Preservation of Peace An ordinance for the preservation of public peace and for the protection of the public welfare and good order in the City of Tower and providing a penalty for a violation thereof.
 07Adopting the Minnesota State Highway Code An ordinance adopting the Minnesota Highway Code and repealing ordinance number 21 or any other ordinance inconsistence herewith.
 08Regulating and Controlling Use of Snowmobiles and ATV's Regulation and control within the corporate limits of the City of Tower.
 09Regulating Public Streets and Alleys An ordinance regulating the use of public streets and alleys in the City of Tower prohibiting the obstruction of streets and alleys and providing a penalty for violation hereof,
 09-ARegulating Public Streets and Alleys Amending Ordinance 9
 10Regulating Use of Firearms Regulation Within the limits of the City of Tower
 11Civil Defense During War Emergencies Providing for civilian defense and for protection and promotion of public safety, health, and welfare in the City of Tower during war emergencies.
 12Fire Protection and Prevention Providing for fire protection and fire prevention in the City of Tower.
 13Regulating the use of streets and to facilitate fire department operations Regulating the use of streets and to facilitate fire department operations in case of fire.
 14Creating City of Tower Tourism Development and Administration Commission An Ordinance creating a commission to be known as the City of Tower Tourism Development and Administration Commission and establishing its powers and duties.
 14-ARelating to public recreation; amends Ord. 50 Relating to the public recreation system of the City of Tower; Amending Ordinance Number 50.
 15Creation of Clerk/Treasurer position Section 2. Section `7, Chapter 3, of City Charter be amended to combine the City Treasurer and City Clerk into one position and be called Clerk- Treasurer. This position to be nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the City Council.
 16Regulating Blight and Public Nuisances An ordinance to prevent, reduce, or eliminate blighting factors and public nuisances within the City of Tower and to provide penalties for the violation thereof
 17Regulating Cleaning of Premise and Sanitary Inspections Requiring the cleaning of premises and providing for a sanitary inspection, and establishing a penalty for violation thereof.
 18Regulating Open Burning Prohibiting open burning upon public grounds, regulating open burning and providing a penalty for the violation thereof.
 19Regulating Collection and Disposal of Garbage Regulating collection and disposal of garbage and rubbish
 20Regulating and Controlling Animals Regulating and controlling animals
 21Regulating Council Vacancies Defining a vacancy of an elective office and procedures for the city council to fill that vacancy.
 22Prohibiting Phosphorous Containing Fertilizers An ordinance prohibiting phosphorous containing fertilizers.
 24Regulating Sewer Laterals
 30Regulating Interference with Radio Reception Prohibiting the use of apparatus which interferes with radio reception
 31Conveying Electric System to MN Power & Light Conveying to Minnesota Power & Light Co. the electric transmission and distribution system; and granting MP&L the right to construct and maintain an electric distribution system within City of Tower.
 33Authorizing a television signal license to J Mesojedec Granting to Joe Mesojedec a franchise to maintain a television signal service and distribution system within the City of Tower
 35Authorizing construction of electrical transmission & distribution system Granting to Minnesota power the right to construct and maintain an electric distribution and transmission system within the City of Tower, Minnesota.
 39Regulating the sale of intoxicating liquors An ordinance licensing and regulating the sale consumption of intoxicating liquor, repealing inconsistent ordinances, and providing a penalty of violation.
 39-ARegulating the sale of intoxicating liquors An ordinance regulating the control and sale of intoxicating liquor on Sunday in the City of Tower. Amending Section 3 of Ordinance 60B.
 39-BRegulating the control and sale of intoxicating liquor on Sunday Amending Ordinance # 39A An Ordinance regulating the control and sale of intoxicating liquor on Sunday in the City of Tower.
 39-CRegulating the sale of intoxicating liquors Amending Ordinance # 39A and deleting Ordinance 39B
 39-DAmending Ordinances #39, #39A, #40
 40Regulating the sale of non-intoxicating liquors Licensing and regulating the sale of non intoxicating malt liquors within the corporate limits of the City of Tower.
 40-AAmending ordinance #40 Amending Ordinance #40 licensing and regulating the sale of non-intoxicating malt liquors
 41Regulating sale of cigarettes Licensing and regulating the retail sale of cigarettes and cigarette wrappers in the City of Tower.
 42Regulating lawful charitable gambling regulating lawful charitable gambling activities, the distribution of funds
 43Regulating sale, possession and use of tobacco Regulating the sale, possession and use of tobacco and tobacco-related devices
 44Regulating lawful gambling Relating to the regulation of lawful gambling and providing for the expenditures of a portion of its net profits.
 47Regulating sliding on City streets Regulating coasting and sliding upon the streets, alleys, and sidewalks i
 48Licensing bicycles Licensing bicycles, regulating their use, and providing a penalty for violation thereof.
 49Curfew hours for children under 18. Prohibiting children under the age of 18 years from being in or upon the streets, alleys, or public places within the City of Tower during the designated
 50Regulating the Sale of Synthetic Drugs Ordinance unavailable on web
 55Procedure for vacation of streets and alleys ordinance describing the procedure to be used in the vacation and discontinuation of streets, alleys, and other highways in the City of Tower.
 55-BVacation of part of Birch Street Ordinance to provide for the vacation of that part of birch street which lies between the southerly line of N 3rd Stand the northerly line of N 2nd Stetow
 55-CVacation of alley in block 18 Vacation of all of the alley in Block 18 in the City of Tower
 56Possession and disposal of unclaimed property Possession and disposal of unclaimed property in the possession of the City of Tower.
 57Regulating public dances Regulating and licensing public dances within the City of Tower, defining public dance places and public dances; and repealing Ordinance Number 24 and Ordinance Number 24A.
 58Regulating gas pumps/tanks on public land An ordinance to prevent the erection and maintenance of gasoline or oil pumps or tanks upon public grounds or highways.
 59Regulating transient merchants and solicitors Regulating and licensing transient merchants, hawkers, peddlers, and solicitors.
 59-AAmending ordinance #59 transient merchants amending an ordinance 59 entitled "An ordinance regulating the licensing of transient merchants, hawkers, peddlers, and solicitors."
 60Regulating snow removal Regulating the removal of snow from the sidewalks within the City of Tower.
 60-AAmending ordinance # 60 sec 1/4 deleting snow clearing on S 2nd St sidewalks An ordinance amending ordinance #60 section one and deleting section four on north and south sidewalks on 2nd St S.
 61-ARearrangement and codification of ordinance numbers Ordinance allowing for the rearrangement and codification of the present ordinances.
 62Establishing a lodging tax within the City of Tower Establishing a lodging tax within the City of Tower (In accordance with Minnesota State Statute 469.190)
 71Creation of Vermilion Landfill Authority providing for the creation of the Vermilion Landfill Authority by the Cities of Ely, Tower, Babbitt, and Winton: The Towns of Kugler, Morse, Wassa, Embarrass, Breitung, and Vermilion Lake: and by the County of Saint Louis on behalf of itself, and insofar as it can, on behalf of additional unorganized townships:
 72-BCreating a municipal forest board Creating a municipal forest board to administer municipal forest lands donated to or otherwise acquired by the City of Tower, and providing for operation of such board.
 73Creating a tree commission regulating plantings Regulating the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees, shrubs, and other plants; and creating a tree commission.
 74Regulating the leasing of City lakeside property for the construction of boathouses Regulating the leasing of City lakeside property for the construction of boathouses
 76Tower Municipal Airport Zoning Ordinance Tower Municipal Airport Zoning Ordinance Created by the City of Tower and Saint Louis County Joint Airport Zoning Board
 77Extending the Corporate City Limits ordinance extending the corporate limits of the City of Tower to include certain unincorporated property owned by and abutting upon the limits of the City
 77-AAmending ordinance #77 (formerly 61) to extend to extend corporate limits Amending ordinance #77 to extend to extend corporate limits (Formerly Ordinances 61/61A)
 78extending the corporate limits of the City of Tower An extending the corporate limits of the City of Tower - Annexation
 79Implementing Wetland Conservation Act Implementing the wetland conservation act of 1991, (Minnesota Laws 1991, Chapter 354, as amended), and the accompanying rules of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (Minnesota Rules Chapter 8420, as amended)
 80Regulating shoreland zoning Regulates the full array of zoning and subdivision planning of shore land management.
 80-ARegulating shoreland zoning Ordinance amending Shore Land Ordinance Number 80 for establishing uniform width dimensions, as required by state statutes, for all residential structure within any zoning district
 80-BRegulating shoreland zoning Ordinance amending Shore Land Ordinance #80 for design criteria for structures
 81Extending the corporate limits Extending the corporate limits of the city of tower to include certain unincorporated property owned by and abutting upon the city limits
 82Zoning regulations Establishing comprehensive zoning regulations for the City of Tower (additional regulations apply to shorelands within the City - See Ordinance #80 Shorelands and Ordinance #76 Tower Municipal Airport)
 82-ARegulating a driveway approach regulating a driveway approach to a private residence and/or abutting properties, a business or other commercial enterprise that provides egress or ingress from a public right-of-way in the City of Tower including shore lands, the City airport and any future developed areas
 82-BAmending Ordinance #82, garages Regulating the placement of garages
 82-CAmending ordinance #82 non conforming uses Ordinance deleting Article XIV Non Conforming Uses of Ordinance #82 and superseding it with revised Article XIV Non Conforming Uses and Structures
 82-DAmending ordinance #82 setback from side streets Amending Ordinance #80 Article VI Section 6.05 Schematic Chart - 1. To include dwellings/structures set back of fifteen (15) feet from side streets.
 82-EAmending #82 for establishing uniform width dimensions for residential structures Amending Zoning Ordinance #82 for establishing uniform width dimensions, as required by State Statutes, for all residential structures in any zoning district within a city
 82-GAmending 82-F Regulating height of garages Regulating the height of a garage in any residential district, amending 82-F (vacated)
 82-HAmending Ordinance #82, apartment floor level Amending Ordinance #82, Apartments permitted in all floor levels excepting Main Street level. Street level space must be use for businesses only
 82-IReplacing Ordinance 82-G, Height of garage Replacing 82-G, amended to include the height of a garage in any residential district
 82-KAmending Ordinance 82, property survey Permits that are encroaching on setback or property line must be professionally surveyed
 83Regulating subdivisions To provide for orderly economic and safe development of land and urban services and facilities and to assure equitable handling of all subdivision plats.
 84Extending the City Limits Annexing land located in the Township of Kugler, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, and the Township of Breitung
 85Annexing land located in the township of Kugler,
 86Creation of the Tower Airport Commission Creation of airport commission advisory to the City Council
 88Regulating nonessential water usage Establishing water conservation restrictions at any time the governor declares a critical water deficiency
 Zoning MapZoning Map shows current Zoning Districts of City of Tower

 City Resolutions

Resolutions are an order for a specific action to be taken or a statement of policy by the City Council. A resolution deals with matters of special or temporary character.

Res # Date Adopted Topic
 2020-040 11/13/2020 Elections Canvassing 2020 City General and Special Election Results
 2020-039 11/09/2020 Appointment, Planning/Zoning interim Board of Adjustment
 2020-038 11/09/2020 IRRR Application, Pine Street
 2020-037 11/09/2020 CDBG Application, Pine Street
 2020-036 10/20/2020 Airport MnDOT Agreement 1044881
 2020-035 10/12/2020 Election Absentee Ballot Board
 2020-034 10/12/2020 Utility, Certify Unpaid Bills Property Tax
 2020-033 10/12/2020 Election Judges General Election
 2020-032 10/12/2020 Election CARES Act
 2020-031 09/14/2020 IRRR Application Fund
 2020-031 09/14/2020 IRRR Application Fund
 2020-030 08/10/2020 TEDA IRRR Taconite Relief Funds
 2020-029 07/13/2020 Order Special Election
 2020-028 07/13/2020 Adopt County All Hazards Mitigation Plan
 2020-027 06/26/2020 IRRR Residential Rehabilitation Request
 2020-026 06/22/2020 Request Release MNDEED Restrictions
 2020-025 06/08/2020 Zoning Appointments
 2020-024 06/08/2020 Budget_Amendment_Airport
 2020-023 06/08/2020 Marina Drive / County Public Works
 2020-022 05/11/2020 Ancient Cedar Trail
 2020-021 04/13/2020 Airport MnDOT Agreement 1035799
 2020-020 03/30/2020 Local Emergency Declaration
 2020-019 03/16/2020 Bonding Bill Water Plant and Main
 2020-018 03/09/2020 Airport Bank Account
 2020-017 03/09/2020 Defining City Money Market Accounts Purpose
 2020-016 03/09/2020 Commerical Rehabilitation City to TEDA
 2020-015 03/09/2020 Hoodoo Campground Bank Account
 2020-014 03/09/2020 Real Estate Conveyance City to TEDA
 2020-013 03/09/2020 Ambulance Replacement Fund
 2020-012 02/10/2020 TBWWB Interim Financing
 2020-011 02/10/2020 Annual Appointments and Designations
 2020-010 02/10/2020 TEDA Tax Forfiet Land Acquisition
 2020-009 02/10/2020 Joint Powers Agreement, City Police Attorney
 2020-008 01/27/2020 Council and Emergency Wages
 2020-007 01/27/2020 City Council Schedule
 2020-006 01/27/2020 Election Judges, Presidential Primary
 2020-005 10/27/2020 Ski Trail, Grant-in-Aid
 2020-004 01/27/2020 TEDA Interfund Loan
 2020-003 01/13/2020 Plat Approval, Tower Harbor
 2020-002 01/13/2020 Website Funding Request
 2020-001 01/13/2020 Ski Trail DNR Grant

 County, State, Federal Elected Officials

St. Louis County

Officer Image County Commissioner, District 4

Paul McDonald
(218) 365-8200
Contact: mcdonaldp@stlouiscountymn.gov
Term Expires: January 2, 2023



State Elected Officials

Officer Image MN House, District 3A

Rob Ecklund
(651) 296-2190
Contact: rep.rob.ecklund@house.mn
Term Expires: January 5, 2021



Officer Image MN House, District 6B

Dave Lislegard
(651) 296-0170
Contact: rep.dave.lislegard@house.mn
Term Expires: January 5, 2021



Officer Image MN Senate, District 3

Thomas Bakk
(651) 296-8881
Contact: https://www.senate.mn/members/email-form/1003
Term Expires: January 4, 2021



Officer Image MN Senate, District 6

David Tomassoni
(651) 296-8017
Contact: www.senate.mn/members/email-form/1064
Term Expires: January 4, 2021



Federal Elected Officials

Officer Image US House, 8th District

Pete Stauber
(202) 225-6211
Contact: stauber.house.gov/contact/email-me
Term Expires: January 3, 2021



Officer Image US Senate

Amy Klobuchar
(202) 224-3244
Contact: www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Term Expires: January 3, 2025



Officer Image US Senate

Tina Smith
(202) 224-5641
Contact: www.smith.senate.gov/contact-tina
Term Expires: January 3, 2021



 History

In 1854 prospectors came to Lake Vermilion in search of gold. In the same year, George R. Stuntz discovered iron ore at the site of the Soudan Mine. On July 31, 1884, the first shipment of iron ore left the Soudan Mine. It was the first shipment in history from a Minnesota mine.

Tower, incorporated as a village on October 31, 1884, was named for Charlemagne Tower, Sr., and eastern financier who invested in the Vermilion Range. Mr. Tower was instrumental in opening the Soudan Mine, which activated the mining industry in Minnesota. The town’s name also honors Charlemagne Tower, Jr., one-time president of the Duluth and Iron Range Railway. Before receiving its present name, the community was called Vermilion, referring to Lake Vermilion, “lake of the sunset glow.” Tower was incorporated as a city on April 9, 1889.

The first newspaper of the Mesabi and Vermilion Ranges was founded by C. D. Bingham in Tower in 1884 and was named the Tower Press. After many other changes it received its present name, the Tower News in 1946. Tower has the home of being the first city in the United States to erect a monument to assassinated President William McKinley. On November 19, 1901, two months after McKinley’s death, the monument, made of rock from the Soudan mine, was dedicated.

Soudan, Tower’s neighboring community, is named after the African Sudan, which was much in the news at the time of the naming. Settlers decided that Soudan should be a mining location and that businesses should not be located there.

Besides the iron mining industry, a prosperous lumbering industry was built up in the Tower-Soudan area. The Tower Lumber Company, operating from 1900 to 1909, employed nearly 500 men. Tower-Soudan’s once prosperous iron ore industry has declined since the closing of the Soudan underground mine. Since the mining industry lost its former prominence, the tourist industry has been emphasized.

Mayors
Mayor Term
Orlyn Kringstad 2019-present
Josh Carlson 2015-2019

 Demographics