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Hancock City Council Discusses Road Projects, MTEC Smartzone, Recycling Bins, & Camp Kitwen

Here are the highlights from the Hancock City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

Road Projects

With the snow melting, road projects left over from last year’s flood damage can soon get underway.

Hancock City Manager Barry Givens gave an update on FEMA and Federal Highway Administration projects to the city council at their regular meeting Wednesday.

Givens said there are 25 FEMA projects and 17 Federal Highway projects within the city.

The requests for bids for the remaining projects that still need to be awarded will go out May 3rd.

MTEC Smartzone Update

MTEC Smartzone CEO Daniel Jamison gave an update on the progress of the high-tech business incubator at the Hancock city council meeting.

Jamison has only been in the position for a few months but he says he is already seeing progress as the Smartzone alters course somewhat.

Rather than focusing primarily on individual startup companies, Jamison says they will try and grow the local economy by reaching out to small high- tech companies that are already in their early stages.

He believes the Smartzone can have more of an impact by working with these companies that are a little further along.

Other steps the Smartzone is taking include becoming more involved in what’s going on in Lansing and reaping the benefits of the FinnZone, the effort to partner with Finnish companies.

Recycling Bins

The City of Hancock will apply for a grant to purchase new recycling bins and make them available to residents.

Councilmember Will Lytle said the city was contacted by the Copper Country Recycling Initiative about applying for the grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The 35 gallon bins cost about $33 each and the grant would require a 25 percent match from the city.

Lytle said if the city sold the bins for $10 each, they would recoup their investment.

The city of Houghton previously purchased recycling bins for their residents and the program was very successful. 

The Hancock city council approved a motion to apply for the grant with a maximum match amount of $4,000, which should be enough to purchase about 400 recycling bins.

The deadline for the city to apply for the grant is May 1st.

Camp Kitwen

City Manager Barry Givens says the state has issued a request for proposals for the purchase of Camp Kitwen, the former minimum security prison in Painesdale.

The prison closed in 2009 and the property has been unused since then, despite calls from several residents for the location to be used as an alternative to the county jail.

Houghton County is putting together a Jail Task Force to look at options since voters turned down another proposal to ease overcrowding at the jail by building an addition.

The Task Force will analyze Camp Kitwen to see what condition it is in and if it would be feasible to convert it to a jail.

Givens said applications are due this June for any party interested in purchasing the property.

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