The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Snyder takes in downtown Ironwood


May 8, 2018

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

GOV. RICK Snyder, second from left, walks past the Historic Ironwood Theatre on Aurora Street during a tour of Ironwood's downtown Monday. Also on the tour was, from left, Public Safety Director Gregory Klecker, Lee-Anne Garske and Ironwood Mayor Annette Burchell.


Ironwood - Ironwood has undergone quite a few changes since Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder visited the city to help dedicate Depot Park trailhead in 2013. He took in many of those changes during a stroll through the city's downtown Monday as part of a visit to the Gogebic Range.

"It's so amazing to see the energy level and the exciting things going on. I mean I remember when I was here to dedicate the trailhead - you've come a long way, even in the last two or three years," Snyder said during a roundtable discussion with community leaders at Cold Iron Brewing. "Michigan has made a comeback, we're back now. You guys are flourishing, there are some other parts of the U.P. that are still struggling."

Prior to the roundtable, Snyder walked through the downtown - stopping in the Historic Ironwood Theatre and Downtown Art Place, Chelsi's Corner, Contrast Coffee, Baked Superior Bread, Jacquart Fabric Products and Depot Park before heading to the brewery.

"It was a great visit," Snyder told the Daily Globe at the end of the day's schedule. "There's a number of wonderful things going on in Ironwood and I think they've got a great platform to build even more on, so I see a bright future for this community and I appreciate all the partnerships going on."

The roundtable discussion focused on economic and community development in the city, with each representative touching briefly on the work they were doing.

One area of the community which was widely praised was the Iron Belle Trail, which locally runs from the Montreal River in Ironwood to Bessemer and will eventually run between Ironwood and Belle Isle in Detroit.

Paul Anderson, who has been involved with developing the trail and is working to expand it through Ramsay and Wakefield, said the trail has not only been incredibly popular but also has brought the local communities together.

"I've only been here five years, but many of these people here have been here their whole lives and everyone agrees they've never seen the communities all work together across borders with each other," said Anderson.

Snyder praised the communities for their regional cooperation.

"I want to compliment you because we all know that doesn't happen everywhere, where several communities come together," Snyder said. "But it makes a huge difference.

"One of the biggest single things if you want to see long-term success is to get along well with your neighbors."

Snyder also encouraged the local communities, particularly Gogebic Community College, to increase the focus on IT and using technology to bring jobs and economic growth to the area.

"I tell people, 'We love the Great Lakes; but we're not a logistics hub, we're a destination.' It's a geography thing - and that's true with the Lower Peninsula as much as the Upper Peninsula," Snyder said.

Representatives from Gogebic Community College, Aspirus Ironwood Hospital, the Gogebic Range Health Foundation, the city and local businesses and community groups were also included in the meeting.

At several points, Snyder referenced putting locals in touch with others in the state who may be able to help local efforts.

"We can get people introduced to people. A lot of it is helping make connections and build relationships and getting some of our resources up here to see opportunities about how we can promote all of Michigan by leveraging resources here in partnership," Snyder told the Daily Globe. "Again, we can see good things going on here we can share with other parts of Michigan. There could be best practices in other places we could bring here."

Prior to his tour of Ironwood, Snyder visited Copper Peak and saw the preparations underway for this weekend's Red Bull 400 run up the hill and jump structure.

"The views are absolutely incredible, it shows how beautiful Michigan is," Snyder said, standing on the observation deck near the top of the jump structure. "This is 'Pure Michigan' at its best."


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