IRON RIVER—Normally, Genesee Street hosts a significant portion of the Fourth of July parade every year. But this year, the parade will be redirected as Genesee Street is being rebuilt.
The project is proceeding on schedule, project manager Craig Richardson of GEI Consultants said at the regular Iron River City Council meeting on June 18.
“The good news is, you see the curb started going in (June 18) and once that goes in, things are going to happen a lot faster,” Richardson said.
The project, which began in mid-May, is about 40% finished as of June 27, Richardson said early this week. In fact, the base course paving may be finished by Friday.
The stated aim is to have the project substantially completed by Aug. 30, with a final completion date of Sept. 15. Substantial completion means “the majority of the work is done and ready for its intended use,” Richardson said.
That means curbs, sidewalks, the base course paving and plantings are on pace to be completed by the end of August.
The one hang-up to the project continues to be the old Coast-to-Coast (Iron River Appliance) building on the corner of Third Avenue and Genesee. The building’s deteriorating condition has been an ongoing safety concern to both the city and Ruotsala Construction, general contractor for the Genesee Street project.
“The issue is (whether) to complete the work and face possible damages from falling debris from the building or wait until there is a resolution to the status of the building,” City Manager Perry Franzoi wrote in his report to the council.
The building is about to go into foreclosure and soon will be up for auction. If nobody bids on the building, it will revert back to the state of Michigan.
“What’s being proposed is that we delay that portion (of the project) until there’s a resolution to the building situation,” Franzoi said at the meeting.
As of June 27, Franzoi said the city is still waiting the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s approval to do that. The MEDC is the grantor of the project.
To change the scope of the project and hold off on the portion near the building requires an amendment to the grant agreement, which the city council would need to approve, Franzoi said.
Mayor Terry Tarsi said a number of properties in the city are set to go into foreclosure. If they do, the city has the first option to purchase them.
However, the council voted 5-0 that the city not participate in the purchase of foreclosed property this year.
The state will then hold an auction, leaving the property to be purchased by the public.
“That’s the scary part of the state’s policy,” Tarsi said. “I wish we could just walk in and tear them down, but the state won’t allow us to do that because we’ll end up paying taxes on them. So let it get into somebody else’s hands and let it continue deteriorating.”
Tarsi also expressed concern about the condition of some of the city’s parks. He reported that 44 percent of the RV park’s budget has not been used and wondered if some of that money could be used toward upkeep and repair at Bachman and Nanamio parks.
However, Franzoi said the money and revenue from the RV fund is restricted to that fund only and can’t be used in the general fund.
In other council news, the city awarded the bid to replace the water main in the alley in back of Miners State Bank to FA Industrial Services. The project must be completed by July 14.
Franzoi said the alley entrance to Scott’s Subs will be kept open because of the busy Fourth of July weekend.
The council is also seeking two residents to apply for open spots on the zoning board. Tarsi made a special plea to the community.
“We need some people to apply to these positions. So please step forward.”
Finally, after numerous requests to move the monthly meetings from 2 p.m. to later in the evening, the council decided to change the date for the July and October meetings to 6:30 p.m. Those meetings are the first of the next two quarters of the year.
The council said it will see what the turnout is before committing to the more later meetings in the future.