IRONWOOD — Ironwood is seeking funding for the massive 2014-’15 U.S. 2 reconstruction project and city officials hope a recent visit by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will help the effort.
A letter to Calley addressed by Mayor Kim Corcoran and the city commission on June 25 notes most grants available through the state focus on downtowns and the city has been informed its U.S. 2 corridor is not grant-eligible.
Calley visited the city recently as part of a Pure Michigan campaign emphasizing tourism.
The letter notes Ironwood officials have been working with the Michigan Department of Transportation to enhance the two-mile U.S. 2 corridor through the reconstruction project.
“As part of the project, the city has a strong desire to enhance the aesthetics of the U.S. 2 corridor,” the letter says. It mentions modern light poles and buried power lines as two enhancements that “...are necessary to compete with Ironwood’s neighbors.”
The letter also says, “Wisconsin communities such as Ashland, Mercer and Park Falls all recently completed highway projects that included additional enhancements by using similar funding sources through the state of Wisconsin.”
Hurley also received considerable state funding for its downtown Silver Street renovation project.
Commissioners stress in the letter that since Ironwood constitutes the “Western Gateway” into Michigan, the city has the opportunity to promote both itself and Pure Michigan.
The city can “carry out goals of this great state; however to do so, your assistance in securing grant funding is greatly needed,” commissioners said.
The letter mentions the potential openings of the Copperwood Mine in Gogebic County and Gogebic-Taconite Mine in Iron County, Wis.
Calley was not familiar with the Copperwood Mine project when he stopped for an interview at the Daily Globe offices after he participated in a bike ride here and then visited the Copper Peak ski flying facility.
The highway, also called Cloverland Drive, will be widened. MDOT owns enough right-of-way along U.S. 2 to add one foot to each 11-foot lane. There are hundreds of homes and businesses along the two miles that will be reconstructed and they will be affected by the two-year project.
Another public meeting on the U.S. 2 reconstruction project will be held before 2014 summer work begins and the funding picture should be clearer then.
City commissioners will discuss the letter to Calley at Monday’s 5:30 p.m. meeting.
Comments on using the perpetual care fund to finance improvements at Riverside Cemetery will be heard at a 5 p.m. Monday public hearing.
At 5:10 p.m ., commissioners will receive input on possibly changing the gross vehicle weight limits on South Range Road from five tons to 15 tons, extending from Pine Street to Norrie Park Road.
At 5:20 p.m ., the commission will hear comments on a potential tax millage to fund local street improvements.