DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Duluth city officials have promised Norwegian embassy officials that an aging tower in the city will look much nicer when Norway’s king and queen visit in October.
The dedication of Enger Tower is expected to be the highlight of King Harald and Queen Sonja’s visit, but right now, the building isn’t looking so hot. Its viewing ports are boarded, mud cakes its sidewalk and it’s not lit inside.
But the tower is undergoing a $372,000 restoration project scheduled for completion in May, the Duluth News Tribune reported. It’s also getting new LED lighting in a $100,000 project that also will be finished in time for the big visit.
“By the time your people get here in October, this will be done,” city architect Terry Groshong told the Norwegians.
The visit by Norwegian consulate and embassy officials Thursday was the first of three visits before the royal couple arrives. Officials from the Norwegian Royal Palace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make trips in June. A final visit in preparation will take place in September.
The Enger Tower was a posthumous gift to the city from Norway native Bert Enger, who immigrated to Duluth and made his living selling furniture. Its opening in 1939 was attended by Crown Prince Olav and Princess Martha.
On Thursday, the delegation climbed to the top of the tower and took in the view of Lake Superior. City architect Terry Groshong said the drab, pre-spring weather didn’t do it justice.
“In the summer and fall, it really is breathtaking,” he told the group.
Still, Urd Milbury, cultural and information officer for the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, called the view “fantastic.” She said the group also got a good view of the area from the Black Hawk helicopter they flew in on.
The helicopter, provided by the Air National Guard, will play a key role in the king and queen’s visit, said Gary Gandrud, Norwegian honorary consul general in Minneapolis.
This will be King Harald’s first trip to Duluth. His father, King Olav, came as a crown prince in 1939 and again in 1968.
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