The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Copper Peak bill supported


Submitted photo

FROM LEFT, Billy Demong, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Bob Jacquart and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley meet at a Great Lakes Sports Commission meeting.

LANSING - Copper Peak officials testified on behalf of getting ski flying to return to Copper Peak in a recent trip to Lansing.

On Sept. 20, Copper Peak's fundraising co-chairs Billy Demong and Bob Jacquart, along with Copper Peak Executive Director John Heilig, testified in support of the future of Copper Peak.

The Senate Commerce Committee was briefed about the man-made ski flying launch that was built in 1970, closed in 1994 and is being revived through a locally-led initiative.

Jacquart said ski jumping is watched by 175 million people in Europe, one of the most popular sports on the continent, but ski flying competition doesn't take place in the U.S. because of a lack of a venue. Upgrading Copper Peak and the surrounding area would create that type of venue, he said.

"Our overall engineering project is currently at 30 percent. The activities that have been focused on are the geotechnical analysis of the landing hill and the landing hill design work. Over the next phase we will focus on civil, mechanical and environmental engineering which will include power, water systems and a wetland review, as well as a stormwater pollution prevention plan," Jacquart said.

State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, is sponsoring Senate Bill 0523 that that would steer money from the Convention Facility Development Fund to a new Northern Michigan Regional Tourism and Sports Fund, Jacquart said.

As of Sept. 26, SB 0523 had passed the Senate Commerce Committee and now goes to the Senate for full Senate approval.  If it passes the Senate, it goes through a similar process in the House and would then advance to Gov. Rick Snyder for final approval.

Jacquart said it is the farthest the Copper Peak revival project has progressed in more than 23 years.

"The project is so big that I believe this thing has the power to help everybody," Jacquart said. "I believe from the bottom of my heart that this is something that can help our whole state."


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