Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bessemer fills Parks and Recreation Commission


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BESSEMER— The Bessemer Parks and Recreation Commission now has a full board, thanks to action taken at Monday’s meeting of the Bessemer City Council.

The council voted to approve Mayor Peter Tacconelli’s appointment of Dominic Fabbri as a parks commissioner.

Fabbri previously served on the city’s Planning Commission and wrote in his application that, as a father, he believes the parks commission “is more aligned with my short-term goals and time commitments.”

He added that his engineering degree and business background and his history of using Bluff Valley Park in all seasons could be valuable to the commission’s interests.

Council members also approved the reappointment of Eric Longhini and Trevor Jackovich to the commission. City Manager Christopher Frazer said they both “have a passion” for the city’s recreational interests.

Frazer said that one opening still exists on the Planning Commission and two seats are open on the Downtown Development Authority.

In other news, the council also voted to approve a request by Jackovich, representing Bessemer Youth Baseball, for the city’s Department of Public Works staff to help with maintaining Steiger Field in relation to mowing, weed wacking and collecting garbage.

DPW Lead Ben Tucker said his crew is willing to take on that responsibility but said Jackovich may need backup during the week of July 4, when the city crew is busy with holiday responsibilities.

Jackovich thanked the council, adding, “It’s getting harder to find volunteers.”

The mayor, in turn, thanked him “for bringing people to town.”

Council members also:

—Voted to approve the city’s audit for the 2022-23 fiscal year. “Overall, the city’s audit was clean,” said Frazer. Clerk-Treasurer Mandy Lake reported that all related paperwork has been submitted to the state

—Voted to raise the wages of election commissioners from $14 to $16 per hour and to raise the election commissioners’ chair wages from $14.25 to $16.25 per hour. The clerk/treasurer said workers deserve the hike. “It’s a long day,” she said of election days that can stretch 14 hours or more.

—At the advice of the clerk/treasurer, voted to limit city credit card usage to $2,000 per department head, with Lake responsible for allowing exceptions as needed, with follow-up approval by the council.

—Voted to approve seeking state Land Bank funds for the demolition of property deemed as blighted at 111 W. Sellar St.

—Voted to table until the next meeting the approval of a letter composed by Frazer in relation to informing donors of the city’s pending trailhead project that they have an option to request the return of their donation after a related grant application was denied for the second time. Zak described the letter as “well phrased,” but said he’d like the communication also to include that the state did not issue as much grant money on the latest round as it had on the previous round. Council members also wanted to confirm other details before approval.

—Heard Tucker describe options on water lines for a pending Tilden Road project. He suggested that the council consider a plan for which total costs would be $45,000. Zak said he has seen no sign of construction there yet and so suggested delaying action. Once construction is evident, he said that the city’s investment in the property would be repaid by property taxes. He cautioned that the city is not responsible for sewer lines on that property.

—At the request of council member Linda Nelson, who also chairs Bessemer 4th of July Inc., voted to donate $1,500 to this summer’s holiday celebration.

—Voted to authorize the city manager to track down and verify deeds for 160 acres of city property that Zak said potentially could be sold. “From the standpoint of the city, the land does us no good,” said Zak, who said sale proceeds could be used for other projects.

—Voted to approve the first reading of an amendment to the city’s noise ordinance.

During the city manager’s report, Frazer also reported that Samantha Dorr resigned as the part-time administrator of the Bessemer Downtown Development Authority. She will retain her full-time job as the city’s deputy clerk.

Until a permanent solution is decided, Frazer said he will help to address the responsibilities that Dorr performed for the DDA.

Council member Mark Serwe, who is also a DDA member, expressed regret at Dorr’s departure. “She was great,” he said.

The council’s next meeting will be on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of the Bessemer City Hall.