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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Work begins to return miner statue to downtown Houghton

Houghton has begun the process of restoring the iconic miner statue that watches over the east entrance to the city’s downtown.

The 500-pound bronze man was severely damaged when he was hit by a car January 3rd. 

At last night’s council meeting, city manager Eric Waara said they’ll take their time, to make sure the repairs are done correctly. 

We want to make sure we’re doing right even by the artist and the people who donated their funds for that. It’s an iconic part of our city.

Several artisans who specialize in bronze repair have been contacted, to discuss what procedure is most appropriate, and to determine a budget. 

There isn’t a standard handbook for what repairing a broken-in-half miner statue should cost.

Updates on the miner’s status will continue to be provided, as available.

Waara also told council members that the new skating ribbon at Ray Kestner Waterfront Park has been well received.

A lot of use, a lot of support, a lot of smiles, a lot of press out there.

For Winter Carnival next week, Waara said the city will again be creating a featured ice sculpture downtown along Shelden Avenue.

I understand even some of the businesses downtown are talking about doing statues on the bump outs and stuff like that, so we are going to make the best out of a weird year here.

The waterfront pier project that was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic is now moving forward. Waara told the council that they hope to be able to advertise for bids this spring, and complete construction by late summer of 2022. The pier will be located next to the Portage Lake District Library. The project is also expected to include space that can be used for concerts, and the downtown Houghton farmers market.

A project to upgrade the software that controls the Houghton city water system is causing what appear to be some leaks, particularly near the reservoirs along Sharon Avenue. Waara said the situation could continue for another day or two, before the automated system is fully back on line. There is no cause for concern.

The public hearing for a proposed zoning change for two parcels near Coles Creek along the Canal Road at the west edge of the city was set for February 24th. Owners of the parcels want them changed from Residential to Business, with a stipulation that both could be used for restaurants, bars and lodging, and one could also be employed as a seaplane base. The city planning commission endorsed the proposed changes at its meeting on Monday.

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