Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bessemer DDA to seek concrete removal bids for south end of Sophie Street

BESSEMER - The Bessemer Downtown Development Authority is seeking bids to have the concrete removed between the curb and the sidewalk between East Sellar Street and East Colby Street on South Sophie Street.

DDA staff person Samantha Dorr said that funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development only covered the concrete demolition up to the southmost point of Sophie Street and cannot cover the north three quarters of the street. According to Dorr the city can pay for the stamped concrete, but cannot pay for the removal of the existing concrete.

"It would then match the rest of downtown too, because we put the stamped concrete in (along the rest of South Sophie Street)," said Dorr.

The demolition includes the complete removal of concrete between the sidewalk and the curb on both the east and west sides of the street. The price of demolition is to also include costs for properly disposing of the concrete.

"I gotta believe that won't be too much," said DDA chair Dave Osier.

The DDA will be accepting bids at City Hall until 11 a.m. on June 28.

The DDA is considering paying an additional $4,500 for tree grates. The DDA agreed during a special meeting on May 26 to split the cost of the tree grates with the USDA-RD, for a cost of $15,000 per party. However, the number of grates needed was miscalculated and they need to purchase an additional three grates for a total of 13 grates.

Tree grates are metal grating that is installed at the base of trees to protect the soil and rooting systems as well as the sidewalks. The slots in the grates allow sunlight, water and air to pass through, but help to contain the roots so that they don't cause a tripping hazard, Dorr said. She said there are other options, but the grates are the best option for the long term maintenance of the trees, streets and sidewalks.

Dorr said cost approximately $2,800 to $3,000 each with shipping and installation. She said that with the increased number of grates, the city could no longer afford it and asked the DDA for help.

The DDA is also considering purchasing the trees to go in the grates as well.

The DDA also:

-Approved a list of eligible improvements for facade funding to be placed on the DDA's website and provide a guideline.

-Reappointed Dave Osier as chair. Osier had wanted to step down from the position, but said he would take the position for one more year as the majority of DDA members are new and no other member was willing to volunteer for the position.

-Signed a one-year contract to hire Dorr as staff person and pay her $4,755 for her services.

-Reviewed the history of the city's DDA, how it gets funded, the TIF district, and the DDA's current plan.