The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ontonagon EDC works to get harbor dredged

 


By JAN TUCKER

jantuck@jamadots.com

Ontonagon — The Ontonagon County Economic Development Corporation remains in contact with the U.S. Corps of Engineers in its request for dredging of the Ontonagon Harbor. Tom Poisson reported to the board that contacts have been made with the Corps in Duluth and in Detroit asking that Ontonagon be placed in the appropriations for dredging in the 2018 season.

Poisson said because of the build up of silt, it is important the dredging occur in the spring after the run-off of the Ontonagon River. Last year one half of the area was dredged in the fall with the result that a sand bar 50 feet out into Lake Superior prevented a Lake Ship from entering and unloading materials at the EDC Dock. The EDC also receives funds when ships enter and unload and the inability to enter the harbor hampers the corporations operation.

The EDC approved its budget for the fiscal year 2018. The organization expects to spend $10,561 in 2018 compared to $9,602 projected in 2017. The major increase was in the Municipal Employees Retirement System contribution.

Poisson reported on the Northwoods Freight–Rail meeting Pat Tucker attended in Rhinelander. He said EDC members from many Wisconsin communities where rails have been removed or are threatened for removal attended. Poisson said 133 people attended the meeting. Poisson added that when the Bio Fuel plant is built at the former paper mill, the rails could be returned to Ontonagon. Member Alan Ralph added he had talked to officials at LakeShore Inc. and if they were to use the Lakeshore building, a rail spur would not be needed into the plant.

Skip Schulz informed the corporation he had approached several government entities in search of someone who would write a business plan for a water bottling plant. He found a student who had worked such a plan and it would require funds to pay for it. Ted Baird, a member of the EDC said that business plans are  “almost always prepared by those who want to start the business, because a business plan depends on their needs.” Member Alan Ralph gave an example noting that Kraft Brewing is interested  in Ontonagon but is looking for investors first. Schulz said the people he contacted want a business plan first.

Ralph also added that Sky Magazine, as seen in Delta flights, is doing a special section on the Upper Peninsula and is presently selling adds around the U.P. “It will be a positive promotion piece,” he added.

In other action the EDC heard that the proposed bio fuel plant in Ontonagon is “moving forward.” Poisson said there is a lot of paper work being done and additional information hopefully will be coming by the end of the year.

 
 

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