Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Commission hears update on water treatment project


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Ironwood — The Ironwood City Commission heard an update on the city’s proposed Phase 2 of its water treatment plant project as part of a public hearing Monday evening.

Jeff Sjoquist of Coleman Engineering spoke about the $10.99 million second phase of a larger project. He said they hope to hear about funding for Phase 1 of the project soon. It would build a new pump house and include new pumping equipment, while Phase 2 will include the water treatment facilities, with the goal of removing manganese and other impurities from the drinking water. Other parts of Phase 2 includes a garage on the side of the new pump house as well as 40 lead service line replacements.

Sjoquist said while the lead service line replacements add to the cost of the project to the tune of $506,000, they also make the project more attractive to the agencies making the funding decisions.

He said he has high hopes for “significant” grant money to fund the project, adding the state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy “likes” this project.

Sjoquist said the EGLE will release a draft list of projects to be funded in August and a final list in September or October.

As for Phase 1, he said they’re hopeful for word soon from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development on funding, adding a federal government shutdown wouldn’t help.

Sjoquist answered a few questions from the commissioners and the public as part of the hearing. He said there would be no new wells dug as part of the project, noting the city has five wells in operation and mixes the water taken from them.

He also said the water is now treated with chlorine and other processes. He also said the cost of treatment will increase with the addition of more processes. He also clarified that once all the new treatments are in place, all customers will receive this water, including the city of Hurley. Hurley buys some of its water from Ironwood and some of it from Montreal.

City manager Paul Anderson updated the commission on several ongoing projects including the rebuilding of Hemlock Street from U.S. 2 south to Broadway. The project will include water and sewer work, as well as a new street surface. He also said the intersection of Hemlock and Broadway will be redesigned.

Broadway runs diagonally to the southeast from U.S. 2 and ends at Hemlock on a 45 degree angle. Through the reconstruction, Broadway’s path will be turned near the intersection of Hemlock, which will become a 90 degree angle. Broadway will end in a T with Hemlock, said Anderson, adding there will be a stop sign there on Broadway and possibly another on Hemlock to the south.

Anderson also reported:

—Spring water main flushing will begin June 4, and the schedule will be announced.

—The compost site has opened and reported 60 vehicles a day. It is open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is free to Ironwood residents.

—Curry Park is set to open Friday and Norrie Park will open June 1.

—In advance of the downtown sewer lining project there was some excavation on Lowell and Aurora streets. He expects paving those spots and lining of the sewers to begin soon.

—Ironwood Public Safety is doing a second inspection of around 100 properties where blight notices were sent.

—Owners of the former Bell Chalet restaurant in Hurley donated the 1890s bell that hung there to be placed along the Iron Belle Trail. He said they’re looking for a secure spot to place the bell along the trail.

—Plans for the July 7 First Friday celebration of the Memorial Building’s 100th anniversary are progressing. They hope to re-create a large photo taken of several hundred folks outside the building at its dedication in 1923.

In other matters, the commission:

—Increased the pay of the on-call firefighters from $12.50 an hour to $17.50. IPSD director Andrew DiGiorgio said while the department’s officers are trained as firefighters, the on-call firefighters add to the city’s firefighting capabilities. DiGiorgio said it had been 10 years since there had been a raise.

—Approved a $817 change order relating to a roof top unit project at the Memorial Building. Mukavitz Heating is doing the work.

—Approved the request by Pat Gallinagh of the Gogebic Range Suicide Prevention Council to display several quilts at the Memorial Building over Memorial Day weekend to raise awareness.

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