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Calumet council addresses several maintenance projects

Calumet’s Village Council meeting Tuesday began with a public hearing addressing the final status of the Elm Street infrastructure project. It was carried out with help from the State of Michigan’s Community Development Block Grant program. In total, roughly $1.6 million was spent with the Village of Calumet contributing $144,581. In some respects, there were more extensive repairs needed than initially thought.

The storm sewer that was believed to be in good shape and structurally sound collapsed while working there. It was determined that approximately 550 of storm sewer should be replaced to avoid future damage to the storm sewer and road surface above it.

The rest of the project actually came in under budget, not including the unexpected storm sewer repair. The council accepted the report and a grant amendment will be filed soon.

Leah Polzien from Main Street Calumet spoke about the possibility for a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for two greenspaces in the village. The first is next to the theatre on Sixth Street, where they operate the farmers market throughout the summertime. The other is on 5th Street.

The CBDG Public Gathering Spaces Initiative grant requires the village to only contribute 10% of overall funding and Polzien wanted to gauge whether the council would be interested in leveraging $10,000 from the Downtown Development Authority with $20,000 from an insurance settlement for property owned at the Evergreen Restaurant. The other option is to try to purchase individual items and try to recoup as much of the entire claim as possible, up to as much as $68,000. Polzien pointed out that the equipment would then need to find a home within another business, as much of it is vintage restaurant appliances. Leveraging a smaller amount through the state could prove more beneficial with less work involved.

What I’m suggesting is we take that money and pool it with the $10-thousand from the DDA and put it into this project.

The grant application is due by mid-April.

KEDA’s Jeff Ratcliffe discussed the status of the grant with MEDC for basic rehabilitation of the Fifth Street Fire site. He said that there are still negotiations ongoing with the owner and insurance company for the fourth building impacted by the blaze. 104 Fifth Street was not a complete loss, but suffered significant damage. Ratcliffe says the insurer does not believe it can be salvaged.

He also reported that there would be no chance to begin any work at the overall site until late in the year.

One of the things to keep in mind, EGLE and the EPA will be on that site pretty much all summer.

The hope is to prepare the location and bring it to a good enough condition that it would attract developers to rebuild on the land.

The council is down to four members temporarily, with Elise Matz stepping away as she has moved outside of the village limits. One applicant was vetted to replace former president Brian Abramson on the council. Pamela Que was accepted, pending that she officially register to vote using her village address. Que has recently moved back to the area from downstate, where she has local government experience. She plans to open a bed and breakfast, which is the subject of a special meeting scheduled for next week.

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