Downtown Michigamme gets a makeover

Downtown Michigamme gets a makeover

MICHIGAMME — A township in Marquette County is getting spruced up thanks in part to a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

A Downtown Infrastructure Grant worth over $300,000 is responsible for a lot of the work currently being done on Michigamme’s downtown. The grant, in conjunction with $65,000 in matching funds allotted for road improvements from Michigamme Township’s general fund, has already allowed for a makeover of Main Street’s sidewalks. Additionally, self-watering perennial rain gardens and new starlight-friendly street lights are being added to the downtown area.

“Starlight-friendly means that it doesn’t reflect off into the sky like a lot of traditional street lights do,” township supervisor Alvar Maki said. “So many people living in communities look up and they can’t see stars, so that’s one thing we’re putting (in) are these starlight-friendly street lights.”

The goal of the project is to help revitalize the downtown area and make it more friendly to pedestrians. The construction of a gateway sign that can be seen from US-41 is another aspect of the project that hopes to increase traffic heading into the town.

“The idea of the gateway is to attract people from the highway that are driving past. (They) will actually see that there is Michigamme and there is something here,” Maki added. “Certainly it will make our downtown a more pleasant place to come for tourists and those that are traveling through.”

The sign and the new lights are expected to be complete by late October, with the entirety of the project being wrapped up by December. The Marquette County Road Commission is replacing storm drains and resurfacing Main Street in tandem with the township’s project. Despite all of the construction, downtown businesses are remaining open.