Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Planning commission approves Dollar General site plan


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Bessemer — The Bessemer Planning Commission approved the site plan for a new Dollar General store during its regular meeting on Tuesday. The approval of the site plan is contingent upon the store receiving all necessary permits.

The Dollar General is set to replace the Travelers Motel, which is located at the east end of the city, off of U.S. 2.

The motel will remain open until the sale of the property is finalized, according to owner Donna Maslanka. Maslanka has owned and operated the motel for 30 years. She said she put the property up for sale so that she could retire and that Dollar General immediately made an offer.

Rusty Doss, a representative for Dollar General, told the commission that the company would most likely be using local companies as subcontractors for the store’s construction.

“We have about five or six general contractors who just do our projects, but they normally get local subcontractors,” he said. “I do know they use local subs simply because of familiarity with local materials that are available and all those kinds of things.”

Doss said that they would ideally like to begin the construction process in April, but that it is weather dependent. The construction usually takes about four months and should be completed in July or August, he said, if things go according to plan.

City Manager Charly Loper said that residents reactions to the prospect of the store have been “all over the place.” She said that she only received one written letter to the council and it was strongly opposed to the project. However, she said that the city’s hands were tied as long as the site plan met city zoning requirements.

“I know that some people have been concerned about potential contamination, but as part of this site plan there is a 6-foot fence around it to alleviate that sort of issue,” Loper said.

According to Loper, the new store could potentially triple the property value of the the site if the store is assessed at a similar rate as the Wakefield location.