The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Road conditions remain an issue in Wakefield Township


August 7, 2019

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

ADDRESSING THE audience at a Tuesday evening meeting of the Wakefield Township board of trustees is John Cox, who is the board chair and township supervisor. To the right is township clerk Mandy Lake.


Wakefield - Road repairs are progressing in Wakefield Township, but there seems to be no shortage of continuing problems.

Township supervisor John Cox made that clear at a Tuesday evening meeting of the township board of trustees.

Cox, who is also the board chair, said some projects already have been addressed, such as general patchwork, culvert repair on Blackjack Road, and improvement of the intersection at Chippewa Drive and Planter Road.

Meanwhile, he said chip seal work also is planned for Martinson, Londo and Drier roads.

He added, however, that high truck traffic on Planter Road has hurt its quality to such a degree that he said the township should plan next year - with the help of funds from the Gogebic County Road Commission - to "pulverize" it, add more gravel, and repave it.

Although he claimed Chippewa Drive has held up better, he said it also could use at least a repaving.

The township's July newsletter also noted that North County Road 519, which is solely the responsibility of the road commission, continues to be a problem.

Although the commission has received two grants for that road, the newsletter explained that the funds were contingent upon Highland Corporation's plans to create a copper mine in Wakefield and Ironwood townships.

Highland still maintains an office in the city of Wakefield, but its progress has stalled due to declining copper prices.

Meanwhile, the newsletter stated, "minimal maintenance" has occurred on North County Road 519 while the road commission and the township seek other funding options.

Water quality testingnow underway

In other news, board members also heard a report from Robert Brown, Jr., the supervisor for the city of Wakefield, who explained that water testing currently is underway in a region known casually as "Bingoville," owing to the history of Bingo's Motel and Bar at the juncture of M-28 and Johnson Road.

Brown said that about a half dozen property owners in that region now are using a private water line and added that the city distribution line ends at Johnson Road.

According to Brown, several of the residents now using the private line wish to install private wells, while some of them rather would use city water.

He added that any further action will depend on whether the water in that region is contaminated.

"If there are contamination issues, we will have to provide them with water," said Brown, who added that such a situation will present challenges in relation to maintaining consistent water quality.

If contamination does consist, he said state funds may help to address the problem, but only if the contamination is a new development.

The board also:

-Heard from Cox that information for the township's new master plan is still in the process of being gathered. He said that Austin Ahonen and Niko Hewitt, who were hired for the project, have canvassed 40 houses and have received "a great response" so far. Cox voiced appreciation for the feedback from citizens. He hopes to have the data-gathering phase complete in the near future.

-Offered verbal confirmation to the city of Wakefield that the township will contribute about $2,900 toward the funding of a refill station for breathing equipment used by the city's volunteer fire department. Cox said that amount will be about 25 percent of the city's cost of $11,500 and is commensurate with the township's current contract for fire protection from the city.

A Rural Development grant from the United States Department of Agriculture will cover more than half of the price of the refill station.

The board's next regular meeting will be on Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wakefield Township Hall at 414 N. County Road 519.


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