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Bessemer council members explain hotel feasibility study


May 7, 2019


Bessemer — At their regular meeting Monday evening, members of the Bessemer City Council sought to clarify public confusion over their plans to pursue a feasibility study for a possible hotel.

The council voted in favor of the study at an April 22 special meeting, in which they learned that $25,000 for the purpose will be available from the Michigan Economic Development Commission.

“It’s not taking any funds from the city,” said council member Terry Kryshak, who assured that no matching funds, nor any other financial contribution from the city, will be required.

Rather, he emphasized, the funds became available because of the city’s recently designated status as a redevelopment-ready city.

Moreover, said mayor Adam Zak, “I think the misconception among the public is that we’re for a hotel and not for a restaurant,” whereas he added, “If a hotel is feasible, a restaurant will be feasibile.”

Council members made clear already at the previous meeting that they were in favor of a hotel-restaurant combination, but were informed by state officials that the study could not address that magnitude.

“We picked the one we felt would balloon both of them,” said Zak on Monday.

Council members also restated that they wish strongly to support existing business. “Our intention is not to undercut the hotel business,” said Archie.

“We’re not looking to cut anyone’s throat,” said council member Linda Nelson regarding the potential study’s exploration.

She added, however, “We still have to look out for the best interests of Bessemer.”

Brittany Blaszak, who owns the Black River Lodge in Ironwood Township with her husband, Justin Blaszak, shared her perspective during public comments.

“There is huge concern,” she said about the general hospitality community regarding the possibility of a new hotel in the region.

Zak said city manager Charly Loper is in the process of talking to local hotel owners to get their feedback.

“We are very committed not to hurt the businesses we have in the community,” said Kryshak to Blaszak, who said the hotel is just a couple miles from Bessemer on Black River Road.

Nelson also noted that people support all types of facilities, from “mom and pop” places to national chains to “basic,” no-frills operations that promote economical value.

In addition, Archie said that the feasibility study may show that a new hotel is not viable, but he and other council members agreed that the information gained would still be of value.

“You’ll get a lot that you can glean for other decision making,” said Kryshak of any pending data gathered.

Zak said that getting information from the study simply helps the council to be ready to go with whatever is feasible when the time is right.

“These people downstate seem to forget about us sometimes,” said Archie, who added about the funds for the study, “This is one time they didn’t.”

After the meeting, city councilman Rob Coleman reinforced that collecting information from the study will come at no expense whatsoever to the city.


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