The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Hurley's 'road to nowhere' may see new development


March 16, 2023


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Hurley — Members of the Hurley City Council voted on Tuesday evening to recommend to Iron County’s Planning and Zoning officials the rezoning of tax parcel 236 0204-000 from single residential to multi-family residential “to allow Impact Seven to develop multi-family housing on the site.”

The land currently is owned by the Iron County Resource Development Association.

At a Feb. 8 joint meeting of the Iron County Development Zone Council and the Iron County Economic Development Committee, members discussed the probability of Hurley being chosen as the site of a 30-unit apartment complex that would include 1- to 3-bedroom units.

Impact Seven, Inc. of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, is an investor bank that has partnered in an alliance with Northwood Technical College in Ashland. They aim to invest nearly $10 million — with help from state grant funding — to finance various objectives, including the construction of up to three apartment complexes in different northern Wisconsin communities.

The alliance between the two parties is known as HOMES, short for Housing Opportunity & Mobile Education Solutions. It markets itself as a Workforce Innovation Grant that aims to provide affordable workforce housing.

If Hurley is chosen as one of the project sites, it will be eligible for an estimated investment of $2 million.

At the February economic meeting, EDC Member Joseph Pinardi — who is also a member of the Hurley City Council and the chair of the Iron County Board of Supervisors — said he believed an ideal construction site would be the site now targeted, which is north of Cary Mine Market.

Pinardi said the land already has a Class A paved entry road, as well as full utilities, including water, sewer and electricity.

Because the site has been dormant for several years, he concedes that it has been referred to, jokingly, as “a road to nowhere.”

However, if Hurley results in qualifying for the new development plans, that road may result soon in leading to more rentals to house more employees to serve additional local enterprise.

In other news, City Councilman Robert Lanctoe reported that, on March 4, a roof caved in on an equipment garage at the Eagle Bluff Gulf Course.

“I want to make sure that everyone understands there was no damage to the stuff inside,” he said, emphasizing later that all of the equipment was in the front of the building, whereas the damage occurred in the back.

The collapse happened shortly after the council had voted on Feb. 20 to approve an agreement to lease the golf course to Jim Durkee, owner and president of Stempihar Inc. in Gogebic County.

Although Tuesday’s agenda had included plans to act on the golf course lease, Mayor Joanne Bruneau announced that the matter will be tabled until the council meets again in April.

When asked the reason for the delay after the meeting, Bruneau assured that it had nothing to do with the roof damage.

“No, that’s nothing,” she noted. “The lease had to have some changes in it.”

She explained that City Attorney Ray O’Dea was still refining the document with the goal of satisfying both Durkee and the city.

After the Feb. 20 meeting, Durkee had told The Globe that he was hoping to open in April, but was unsure of the timing due to “a lot of work” awaiting him at the site.

Council members also:

—Approve a resolution which facilitates a refinement of the city’s existing Citizen Participation Plan. After the meeting, Clerk/Treasurer Stacey Wiercinski said that the plan is a standard requirement in applying for federal grants, “We already have this in place,” she said. “We’re just upgrading it.”

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the aim is to identify five objectives of citizen participation: information exchange, education, support building, supplemental decision making, and representational input, and then match techniques with objectives accordingly.

—Adopted a Fair Housing Ordinance which serves to prevent and/or rectify any discrimination in housing within the city.

—Approved several business licenses for Danette Birkholz at Idle Hour Saloon. Birkholz informed The Globe that she expected to open Wednesday, March 15, at 25 Silver St.

—Learned from councilwoman Stephanie Innes-Smith that Hurley Police Chief Chris Colassaco plans in April to request a new squad car and to seek the council’s input on the problem of how to manage blight.

The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be on April 11 at 5 p.m.


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