The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood 16-inch water line completed, testing to follow


March 27, 2018


Ironwood — The completion of laying the pipe for the 16-inch water transmission line to the city wellfields in Ironwood Township was celebrated by the Ironwood City Commission on Monday.

“The pipes are in. A big milestone has been met,” said Paul Anderson, of Coleman Engineering, of Ironwood, the city’s engineering firm for the Ruotsala Construction project.

Anderson said pressure testing will be conducted in the next week for the phase 4 city infrastructure project. The tests will determine if the project can advance to the final approval stage.

Work on the second transmission line to the wells in the township will resume in the city around the end of April, when the frost will hopefully be out of the ground.

“This has been a number one city priority for many, many years,” said city manager Scott Erickson. He said the line will continue to provide water “for years after we’re all gone.”

Paving of the related city streets will begin around mid-June and should be completed by Aug. 1, Anderson said.

Commissioner Joe Cayer Jr. was pleased to hear that news, so the affected residents won’t have to go through the entire summer and fall months with torn-up streets.

Commissioners approved a $426,063 partial pay package for the water portion of the utility project and $2,900 for the sewer portion.

The water project continued through the winter, while there was only minor sewer engineering work during that period.

Cemetery debate

In other business Monday, city commissioners tabled awarding bids for two cemetery lawnmowers for $7,250 apiece.

Erickson said the plan is to mow the cemetery “internally,” using three summer part-time workers, rather than have a private firm do the job.

Saari Lawn Services, of Montreal, Wis., had submitted a bid of $76,000 for three years to mow the lawn, but Erickson said the city is now considering the new direction with the part-timers, which was met with a lukewarm response from the commission.

Erickson said the summer helpers will be hired regardless of whether or not the city will mow the cemetery grass. He said “continuous mowing” would mean no more “shaggy” periods between the approximate five times the cemetery lawn is cut every year.

Kathy Saari said her company has 16 lawnmowers and more people available than the city plans to devote to the mowing process, however.

Erickson said the cost to the city with the new plan would be a wash for the first three years, but then the city would save money.

Commissioner Rick Semo said he would like to see a detailed estimate of cost savings.

Cayer suggested the city seek re-bids on the mowers.

Kim Corcoran said she is worried that part-timers may not be able to do a better job than the private firm and wondered if the city department of public works crew would end up doing much of the mowing.

Jim Mildren said he’d like to revisit the issue and Erickson said he’ll come back with more detailed figures.

Mayor Annette Burchell had an excused absence.

Erickson noted under a private contract, it costs about $4,200 every time Riverside Cemetery is mowed.

Commissioners and city officials agreed the condition of the cemetery grounds is very important to both the citizens of Ironwood and all who have family members buried there.


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