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Houghton Eyeing Grants For City Projects

There may be a buyer for the old depot building on the Houghton waterfront.

Houghton City Manage Eric Waara informed the city council at their regular meeting Wednesday that the property owners have an offer for the purchase of the former Aspirus Medical Arts building.

The offer is contingent on getting acquisition assistance from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The city would help by applying for the MEDC grant of around $500,000 for the purchase of the building, with the buyer responsible for the balance and any other costs.

The city would not be required to match any of the funds.

A grant to aid in the city of Houghton’s recycling effort is available from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Waara is hoping to use the grant to purchase 200-300 more carts for residents to buy at $10 each, and 7-10 municipal containers to be put on the streets to collect recyclables.

The project is estimated to be about $14,000, with the grant covering half of the cost and the city matching the rest, paid in part by selling the carts to residents.

The grant application is due in March.

The showers and restrooms in the locker rooms at Dee Stadium could be renovated if the city of Houghton is successful in getting a Passport Grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

Waara said the overall project would cost about $120,000.

Passport Grants for this year are up to $75,000.

The grant application is due on April 1st, so Waara expects to have a public hearing on the proposal later in March.

The Houghton City Council has transferred building inspection authority to Houghton County by passing a resolution on Wednesday.

Waara said Houghton may have been the last local municipality that still conducted its own construction inspections.

The city will continue to rental and property code inspections themselves.

The move still needs to be approved by the Bureau of Construction Codes in Lansing.

The Houghton Police Department has been given the go-ahead by the city council to purchase a new patrol car.

The new 2017 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility vehicle comes with a price tag of $30.449, with $14,000 paid by a grant from Rural Development.

Sadly, the annual Yooper Luge that was rescheduled for this Saturday has been cancelled.

The event had been postponed from last weekend due to poor weather conditions which did not improve in time to save it.

Waara said the poor quality of the available snow and concerns over the safety of the kids participating were the reasons for the cancellation.

He says the Yooper Luge will return next year.

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