ISHPEMING — The Ishpeming City Council took steps today to fix some of the city’s deteriorating buildings. And, a city resident was told to stop using city property to grow vegetables.
At the forefront of the meeting was a request from Dan Perkins to use city property to grow vegetables. Perkins was denied the request by a five to nothing vote. The council denied the request and asked Perkins to stop growing things on the 8-acre parcel of city land.
“You never even came and got permission. You just snubbed your nose at it and you built it larger than it was,” said Claudia Demarest to Dan Perkins about the illegal use of the land. If you continue to do this, this is setting a precedent for anybody to do anything on city property that they want to do.”
“We’ve been slowly developing a nice relationship with the kids in our neighborhood here with this,” said Perkins about the garden. “I’m going to pursue to use the land in this way. They’re wrong about this. Milwaukee is considered the most gardening friendly city in the nation. They’ve turned all of their neglected land into gardening. It’s done tremendous things for their community.”
“In this case he’s using city property without permission,” said Sloan. “I have to tell him that he can’t do that. It’s not personal- it’s the law. You wouldn’t want someone using your property without permission and I think the citizens of the community wouldn’t want a farm on city property without permission.”
By a five to nothing vote, the Ishpeming City Council also approved a bid from Gunlach Champion for more than $1.3 million dollars for renovations to city hall, the police and fire department, plus the department of public works.
“We have older buildings that have condition issues,” said commissioner Mark Sloan. “Specifically in the police, fire, and public works building, the heating system was not working properly, and very inefficient being older technology. We knew that we needed to do some action to fix some of these problems.”
“Gunlach Champion has a long, storied history of construction in the Upper Peninsula. I know that this project has been on the city’s radar for many, many years. We’re just happy to be a part of that. We’re excited to get started,” said James Ebli, President of Gundlach Champion. “There’s a substantial, mechanical, and electrical scope with this project. Over half of the project is electrical and mechanical upgrades.”
The project includes a new elevator for city hall and a new heating system for the police and fire department building.
The city will finance the repairs and renovations through a 30-year loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Once the USDA approves the financing, the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“For four buildings and doing all that’s going to be done, we’re getting a lot of bang for our buck,” said Sloan. “We’re going to do this work. It’s going to be good for the city, providing much needed upgrades and improvements to provide for safety, health, and efficiency. It’s creating local jobs for a local contractor… it’s a win, win for everybody.”
The city council also agreed to upgrade the city’s phone systems. 906 Technology will install the new phone system for just under 11,000 dollars.