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Former Joe’s Tavern to be demolished

IRON RIVER — The Iron River City Council’s first regular meeting after the resignation of former city manager David Thayer was held on June 17. The agenda was voluminous, featuring 16 items for the board to consider before additional amendment.
    In her report, interim city manager Rachel Andreski announced that the property encompassing Joe’s Tavern – at 821 to 823 West Cayuga – was sold, and that City Attorney Mark Tousignant and Mayor Dennis Powell had completed the necessary paperwork for that sale. The structures there are scheduled for demolition, which must be carried out by Sept. 5.
    Andreski continued by stating that she had also been in contact with Craig Richardson of GEI Consultants concerning work the city is planning along McKinley Street from Iris Street up to Grace Covenant Church. The work inquiry for McKinley involves both GEI, and General Concrete of Iron River. GEI’s price for labor and materials for road work provisionally came to $39,640 for the project. General Concrete would provide sidewalk work, with a total of $1,714 with an overall project cost of $41,354.
    The project clause on the work provides an assurance that the McKinley project would be completed by Oct. 2, 2020. The city council considered the project later in the meeting, and it unanimously supported its passage.
    In terms of new developments, Andreski said she supported Police Chief’s Curtis Bristol’s proposal for a zoning ordinance officer. In Bristol’s report, he said that the city needs a dedicated person on staff able to deal with blight complaints. He suggested a new role along those lines for someone who could work three days a week at five hours. The position could even be seasonal, through busy periods during May through September.
    Toward the end of her report, Andreski mentioned that City Treasurer Amanda Tukesbrey had completed the transfer of delinquent utilities to the tax roll and had begun preparing for tax collection, starting July 1. Andreski said that more than $76,000 had to be transferred to the tax roll, which she assumed was due to the coronavirus pandemic - revenue the city did not collect, although it could be collected later.
    She did say, however, that there were additional payments that could not be collected since the transfer occurred. Andreski then went on to state that a property in town, which has been vacant for some time, has been used of late as a location for squatters to occupy. As it pertained to the utility situation, she said that due to the current emergency, the city is required by law to provide water to the squat site. Andreski said that she was looking into possible utility relief to help deal with these pressures.
    It was also reported that the Apple Blossom Trail was in a state of disrepair at this time, with the spring thaw doing some damage his year. The trail was blocked off, but Andreski noted that people were continuing to use the trail regardless. She suggested redirecting some money meant for a sidewalk project near Stambaugh Hill – currently in a suspended state – to repair the trail.
    The board also approved budget amendments, following on from discussions held in previous Iron River meetings. The council also considered several capital improvements; the board tabled a double chip seal program but approved a crack sealing initiative. An emergency proposal was also proposed to address wear and tear in the city’s SCADA control system for the sewer and water systems, which the council approved.
    Finally, the Board of Review meeting has been moved to July 23.