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Public input wanted for the future of the Houghton parking deck

Houghton City Manager Eric Waara expects the public process to determine the future of the parking deck site downtown to commence next month. The city is teaming with Pat Coleman of North of 45 LLC to host up to three town hall/open house meetings, the first being mid-September.

Waara does not see the process as being an easy one, as there are disparate visions for the space. Some want a park to take its place, something more traditional for city waterfronts than what is there today. Others are primarily concerned with pedestrian access for visitors to their shops. It will be difficult, but not impossible, to harmonize those into a new concept.

Waara says it is even conceivable to have the final result of the process be a new deck. Building a replacement would save the city money in the long run.

We cannot continue to keep sinking millions of dollars into that only to have the privilege of sinking millions more into it. You do that two or three times, you could have built a new one! A better one, a more efficient one, and a longer lasting one.

While the public figures out what to do with the space, city staff will be investigating how to pay for the removal of the current deck. The goal is not to do it immediately, but to be able to do it on Houghton’s terms and not because the condition of the structure necessitates it.

Final details for the date, place, and time of the first town hall will most likely be determined at next week’s council meeting. Waara will be a guest this weekend on Copper Country Today.

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