Fire was on the mind of Houghton city councilors as they convened last night.
City Manager Eric Waara read a report prepared by the city’s volunteer fire department about the recent explosion that destroyed the apartment building at 908 College Avenue on March 13th. While the cause has still not been determined, foul play has been ruled out. The fire department thanked other local firefighters and public safety officers for their mutual aid assistance, and also noted that a number of bystanders, including Michigan Tech students, helped to move hoses.
As that investigation continues, a building less than a block away that burned a year ago is about to be demolished. Waara said the city has tried to work with the owner of the home at 913 College Avenue, but the time has come to remove the blighted structure. Work should begin within a month.
Houghton City Assessor Scott MacInnes reported that property values in the city increased by six percent last year – the largest increase in many years. Waara credited a combination of rising property values and new construction.
The City Center is getting a new tenant. Final details haven’t been worked out, but an engineering firm plans to lease space on the upper floors, which have been vacant since Midwest Loan Services relocated to Hancock.
The council appointed Gloria Melton and Meha Chiraya to the Portage Lake District Library board.