The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Gogebic County board mulls over ongoing projects

 


By LARRY HOLCOMBE

lholcombe@yourdailyglobe.com

BessemerGogebic County Road Commission Engineer and Manager Darren Poink updated the county board about a variety of ongoing projects at its regular meeting Wednesday evening.

Work continues on repairing Lake Road in Ironwood Township after last summer’s major storm.

Poink said they have installed four culverts and have five more to go, plus paving over the culverts and a half-mile of road reconstruction left to do.

He said the projected date for blacktopping is Sept. 18.

There was some discussion about how Little Girl’s Point is accessible from the east now, but at some point — when culvert work moves past the county park — signs will be put up directing the public to reroute and approach the park from the west through Wisconsin.

Board member Joe Bonovetz said he’s seen a lot of people at Little Girl’s Point this summer.

Poink said while a contractor is working on Lake Road, the Road Commission’s crew will be replacing culverts and doing other work elsewhere in the county.

“We’re not ramping down, we’re still ramping up before winter sets in,” Poink said.

Board chairman George Peterson praised the recent work on 1,000 Island Lake Road in Watersmeet Township, and asked if there is any more gravel work to be done in Watersmeet.

Poink said the Road Commission allocated $25,000 in gravel for each of the townships and they’re working to use that up.

Highland Copper

Tim Lynott from Highland Copper told the board the company would soon be asking the members to pass a resolution in support of the company’s efforts to secure state funding to upgrade County Road 519, which travels from Wakefield north to their proposed mine site.

He said the board passed a similar resolution in 2009 when then Orvana was trying to build a copper mine at the same site. That didn’t happen and Highland has since secured the rights; but the state reallocated those road improvement funds back then, so a new funding request is needed.

Lynott gave a brief presentation about Highland’s status. He said the company’s feasibility study has been fully funded by investors. They hope to have that done by the second quarter of next year and be able to make a construction decision then.

He said the price of copper was $2.96 a pound on Wednesday, and that they’d “have a project” if it’s at $2.75. He said the projects is still fully permitted, and added the company’s as confident as they’ve ever been about the Copperwood Project north of Wakefield.

Lynott said there is 15 miles of County Road 519 between Wakefield and the mine site, and the 2009 estimate of upgrades was $2.3 million. “But costs have gone up.”

Lynott also said the company is in the process of moving its headquarters from White Pine to Wakefield, leasing a building on U.S. 2.

Retirement

The board received a letter from County Equalization Director Thomas Novascone that he plans to retire at the end of his contract on Sept. 30.

He said in his letter he was honored to have served the county for 37 years and had worked alongside some excellent colleagues.

Peterson thanked Novascone for his service.

In other action, the board:

—Accepted an additional $50,000 appropriation from the county’s Forestry Department, making this year’s contribution to the general fund $200,000. Over the past 10 years, the county forestry appropriations have totaled just over $2 million.

—Proclaimed Sept. 10-16 “Suicide Prevention Week” in Gogebic County. Peterson said the request came from Pat Gallinagh who is active in local suicide prevention efforts, and added Gallinagh has given excellent presentations at the Watersmeet School, where Peterson is principal.

—Decided to call for bids for the county’s next audit, with bids due in September.

 
 

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