IRON RIVER—“We’re doing everything within our ability,” Iron River City Manager John Archocosky explained to the City Council, concerning efforts to clean up the debris from the fire that destroyed River City Lanes last May.
“The owners and their insurance company haven’t agreed on a settlement,” he said at the council’s Jan. 18 meeting.
“It’s been going on for quite some time.”
The owners have been fined, and will continue to be fined. He said Police Chief Mike Goriesky and City Attorney Mark Tousignant are both involved with the issue.
Tousignant said a court order could be issued to clean it up, with a lien placed on the property. However, the clean-up could be more than the value of the property.
Archocosky said the main area of concern is across the front of the property, facing Genesee Street. Neighboring businesses are being affected.
He said the county’s Construction Code office could issue a directive that a six-foot high wall be constructed around the property.
Mayor Terry Tarsi asked if, because of the close proximity of the property to the Iron River, the DNR could get involved. There is also a lift station nearby.
“The city is entitled to some answers from the owners,” Tousignant said.
“There’s a lot of mess there,” Tarsi added.
“We have to pursue it.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
--Resident Pam Leonard, who indicated she had recently moved back to Iron River, brought some concerns to the council.
There are many streets in need of repair, she said, and wondered if the city was going to be able to fix them. Archocosky said that street repair is usually done in conjunction with a water or sewer project, because that is the only way the city can afford it.
“We don’t have any money, otherwise,” he said. He added that over the past few years, approximately five and a half miles of city streets have been repaired.
Leonard commented on the number of vacant buildings on Genesee Street.
“Are there any incentives to the owners to do something with them?” she asked.
With the reconstruction of U.S. 2, traffic is routed away from Genesee Street. “I’d like to start a business, but not if there won’t be any traffic coming through.”
She asked City Council if there was an ordinance about shoveling snow, as she had noticed elderly people walking in the street because the sidewalks were snow-covered.
Archocosky said there is an ordinance for the business district, but not the residential streets.
Finally, she asked the council why buildings that are on the historic registry are allowed to be boarded up and are deteriorating.
Archcocosky said the city has no authority to touch them.
--GEI Consultant Craig Richardson reported to the council that it is time to start applying for DNR recreation grants.
There is an April 2 deadline. Archocosky said he thought two projects should be presented: fixing the ticket booth at Nelson Field and creating a handicap access to the bleachers.
He said he was talking to West Iron County School Superintendent Chris Thomson about the ideas.
--In his report, Archocosky said the changes that convert the city’s water meter reading from manual to an electronic system have started.
Using a radio transmission system will save approximately $26,000 annually in phone line costs.