ISHPEMING — The elimination of a blighted building was on the agenda of a special meeting of the Ishpeming City Council Tuesday morning.
The council voted unanimously to allow the Marquette County Land Bank Authority to use blight elimination grant dollars to remove the old steam plant building located on Seventh Street. The Authority already received permission from Bell Forest Products, the building’s owner, but the city was also required to sign off on the plan.
“The Land Bank Authority is actually the recipient of the grant funds, so we’re responsible for deciding which buildings we’re going to spend the money on,” said Anne Giroux, Marquette County Treasurer and head of the Marquette County Land Bank Authority. “In this particular case, the city owns the land, so we need to be able to demonstrate site control to the state – that we have the ability to do the demolition on the site. So we’re asking them for permission to tear the building down on property that they own. We have until the spring to actually do the work, but we have to be able to show them now which buildings we’re doing the work on.”
The steam plant was originally on the Land Bank Authority’s list of properties to demolish, but was removed due to projected costs. It was reconsidered after control of another property on Canda Street which was originally supposed to use the funds fell through.
The cost to demolish the plant is expected to be more than the $70,000 in available grant money, although Giroux said that Bell Forest Products has indicated that they would cover a reasonable cost overage. Giroux will proceed by looking for bids to demolish the site.
The council also voted to approve the 2016 budget at the meeting. The budget includes funds that will be used to complete work related to the upcoming roundabout projects.
“With the approval of the budget today, I can say with a great deal of certainty that these things are going to happen, and it’s going to benefit the city tremendously in my opinion,” said City Manager Mark Slown.
Additionally, the city unanimously decided to become one of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Redevelopment Ready Communities.