The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bessemer council discusses demolition of houses


January 23, 2019


Bessemer — At Monday’s regular meeting of the Bessemer city council, city manager Charly Loper said the city is eligible to apply for a one-time state grant of $50,000 to be used for the demolition of worthless city-owned buildings.

Loper estimated the funds would cover the cost of razing two buildings, and she provided a list of the following four addresses from which to choose, along with the approximate cost to level them:

—107 W. Sellar (“brownstone”), $35,000

—508 S. Moore (“the Johnson building”), $30,000

—506 S. Mine, $11,000 to $15,000

—1807 Palms, $11,000 to $15,000

According to Loper, the fourth address may be removed from the list because of a prospective buyer. She said Melissa Prisbe reported the property’s value as $1,080 and claimed the house upon it had zero worth.

Council members Linda Nelson and Rob Coleman voted to sell the property with the stipulation that the new property owner either tear it down or render it habitable within two years.

However, mayor Adam Zak and mayor pro tempore Allen Archie voted against the idea because they thought the two-year contingency should be reduced to one year. Councilman Terry Kryshak was absent.

The council agreed to table the matter until the next meeting.

Council members also disagreed about the priority in demolishing the remaining houses on Loper’s list.

Zak pushed for the 107 Sellar house to be destroyed first because he said the brownstone structure would require a contractor to break it down.

“We can’t burn it,” he said. “We can’t tear it down. There is no chance we can do it.”

Coleman and Nelson, however, prioritized the destruction of the 508 S. Moore building, due to its large size and longstanding deterioration.

Council members then asked Neal Nelson, lead of Public Works, whether his staff might be able to burn one of the buildings, thereby reducing the list of choices.

Loper and the public works lead said they will coordinate on checking that potential and will report back at a future council meeting. Loper said she must write the grant by February.

The council also:

—Voted to pay Snow Country Contracting, Inc. in Bessemer just under $100,000 for work relating to recent sewer and water improvements. The motion included a contingency to continue withholding $72,000 on the grounds of some deadlines not having been met.

—Voted to approve a change order of $171,187 for C2AE in Escanaba regarding wastewater system work.

—Voted to appoint Kryshak as a full-time council representative for the Western Gateway Trail Authority, while also appointing Loper to take Kryshak’s previous place as an alternate representative.

—Heard Loper welcome input regarding ideas for detour routes when work commences in 2021 on converting U.S. 2 from four lanes to three lanes while at the same time addressing sewer and water work underneath the highway. She said Iron Street has been proposed so far as a route with minimal turns and steep hills, thereby meeting the needed requirements for truck traffic.


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