Marquette country projects receive MDARD grants

MARQUETTE COUNTY — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recently announced that it has awarded over a half a million dollars to projects around Marquette county.

The Michigamme River Basin Authority in Republic township received $100,000 to be put toward replacing the Republic dam with a new spillway and fish passage. The water levels have been kept at a certain level for 140 years, and this project will help with the economic success of the area.

“Without this, we will lose our recreation in the summer time,” said Jim Brennan, chairman of the Michigamme River Basin Authority. “When the water goes down you can’t boat in between the basins. And this grant allows us to move forward with making our township a recreational hub for the Central U.P.”

Brennan said the campgrounds, the water in the area, and the trail systems going in all directions are big assets for recreation in the area. Matching funds are needed to start the project, but Brennan is confident they’ll get those and get the project moving.

The City of Negaunee also received $100,000 to be put toward replacing the sewer main and manholes on Brown Avenue.

The project is expected to start this spring and last through the summer, and will stretch from the intersection of Cherry and Baldwin, and go all the way to Main street.

“This part of the sewer line actually takes on at least 50% or more of the sewage for the city,” said Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron. “So losing that sewer line, and people not being able use their sewer would probably make a lot of people upset. So we put in for the paperwork and we were able to score high enough to get the full $100,000 as part of our $600,000 project.”

Heffron said the road needs to be repaved, and they wanted to get the sewer replaced first so they wouldn’t have to tear up new pavement to complete the project.

Additional grants awarded in the area:

  • County of Marquette – $100,000 (Marquette). Replacement of 37-year-old influent pumps at the KI Sawyer Wastewater Treatment Facility.
  • Powell Township – $43,500 (Big Bay). Implementation of Phase 1 of a multi-phased project plan to convert the nine miles of Big Bay Pathway to year-round use.
  • Republic Township – $100,000. Creation of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail Head building to serve tourism taking place in Marquette County.
  • Central UP Planning and Development Regional – $83,000 (Marquette). Coordinate, develop and implement a strategic plan for workforce loss mitigation within Marquette County.