IRON RIVER—Since it was developed in the early 1990s, the Iron River RV Park has only had a generic name.
Until now. During its regular Oct. 16 meeting, the Iron River City Council approved a request to rename it the Klint Safford Memorial RV Park.
Safford was Iron River’s city manager from 1974 to 1980 and served as a commissioner for many years after that, playing an instrumental role in the development of Ice Lake Park, Nanaimo Park, the Downtown Development Authority and off-street parking.
In 1990, he proposed development of a former wetlands area into an RV park, helped by a DNR grant and the area’s inclusion into the DDA zone. It was built, and the Chamber of Commerce moved its office into the RV park building in 1992.
“The Iron River RV park is now a point of pride for the city,” said Dawn Pisoni, who made the presentation, “but if it weren’t for Klint’s vision and perseverance, the park would never have happened.”
Commissioner Arthur Sacheck made the motion to rename the park in Safford’s honor, and the motion passed unanimously.
Pisoni said Safford’s family is willing to pay for an appropriate sign at the RV park. Work on the name change and the new sign will be coordinated with Perry Franzoi, current city manager, and Chamber Manager Bob Black.
• A short-term repair project for Blossom Street and Coolidge Avenue is on the way. The council agreed to the $4,696 project that pulverizes the current blacktop and turns it into a gravel-like surface.
Craig Richardson of GEI Consultants said the project will involve Coolidge from Kofmehl Road south to near Fern Street “where the good blacktop starts” and a block of Blossom, between Coolidge and Harding.
He said the work should be completed “before deer season.”
GEI worked with Northeast Asphalt on the plan. The block of Blossom Street that is currently closed, Richardson pointed out, will remain that way.
He also said that GEI will put together a bud package for dealing with drainage issues in the area, the cause of the street problems—otherwise, there’s no point in doing much with the roads. It involves culverts, ditching and grading.
Later in the meeting, council members and Franzoi discussed a proposed special election to raise money for road repairs in the city.
One mill, Franzoi said, would raise $56,000. He noted that rebuilding one block of Third Street cost $60,000. “But that was a total rebuild,” he quickly added. “Removal of concrete, new sand subbase, new gravel, curb and gutter, new sidewalk.
“Not all streets are going to need that.”
Most streets in the former city of Stambaugh, however, have concrete that would need to be removed before any other work can be done, and that is expensive work.
Franzoi said the city needs to come up with criteria to help decide street priorities: factors such as roadbase, surface condition, traffic volume and number of homes on the street.
If a special election for road improvements is held, it would mostly likely take place in the first half of 2014.
• No official action was taken, but Mayor Terry Tarsi and council members said the city should start writing citations for property violations at the former Coast to Coast store on Genesee Avenue.
For some time, city officials have threatened to fine the building’s owner. So far, no repairs, and Tarsi said he wants the yellow ribbons and city sawhorses that barricaded the sidewalk to be removed.
“I see no sense in the barricades any more,” he said. “There’s an owner, and he’s responsible for the building.” He continued that the city needs to start issuing tickets for ordinance violations. “Like it’s supposed to be done.
“Nothing’s happened. It’s been sitting there. Every time you go by there, it’s an eyesore.”
Franzoi said he and city attorney Mark Tousignant met with the (unnamed) new owner of the building on Oct. 8 about the falling bricks and leaking roof. Since then, the deed for the building has been recorded by the county. The owner, who is a veteran and disabled, said he is waiting for veterans payments so he can start repairs.
Franzoi, though, said he thinks it will be very hard for him to get bank financing, and Tousignant said the property will probably be sold at auction at a delinquent tax sale in 2014. (Under the law, he noted, the property itself is responsible for the payment of taxes, not its owner.)
“The options are really limited,” Tousignant said. They are: the city becoming the building’s owner—and assume responsibility for it (demolition costs have been estimated at $175,000, and that doesn’t include lead and asbestos abatement); start issuing citations to the owner, who may deed the property to someone else; have the building inspected to officially determine if it is a public hazard; or start a lawsuit to have it condemned.
“I wish I had a firm recommendation telling you what to do,” Tousignant said. “There’s no good course to go down.”
It’s not just that building. Tarsi cited other cases of people buying up city homes “that are falling down. You have to go after the people who are buying these things and make them adhere to the ordinances.”