The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

MEDC, local leaders discuss Ojibway closing


September 6, 2018


Ironwood — Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Jeff Mason and other state officials met Wednesday with Gogebic Range leaders to discuss the closure of the Ojibway prison in Marenisco.

The session was attended by about 30 people, including 18 community leaders. After the meeting, Mason said in a teleconference call that the MEDC has committed to fund a study to determine possible future economic development activities for the area. He said an effort would be made to diversify the economy.

“This was the first step in the process. We wanted to listen to leaders and try to better understand the impact of the closure on the area and what the future holds,” Mason said.

Many state agencies were represented at the session at Gogebic Community College.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to move the region forward in the wake of the devastating economic news, as more than 200 employees are affected by the closure, announced for Dec. 1.

Strategies to create a “sustainable economic base for the community” were discussed, according to Dan Olsen, communications manager for the Michigan Talent and Economic Development Department.

Gogebic College Interim President Erik Guenard said a list of priorities will be developed. “We realize we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

“It’s a great first step,” Mason said.

State officials said they are considering options for the Ojibway facility, which is owned by the Department of Corrections, but there doesn’t appear to be any firm plans.

Gogebic County Administrator Julianne Giackino said the county and its board of commissioners will offer support “in any way we can” and is willing to study a priority list.

Olsen said the next meeting of the state officials with local representatives could occur this fall.

Last week it was announced after a push from State Rep. Scott Dianda that the State Auditor General intends to investigate the closing of the facility.


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