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IM approves July 4 fireworks show

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Iron Mountain City Council approved an Independence Day fireworks display Monday after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to rescind her Safer at Home order.

With the governor now allowing groups of 100 or less to gather outdoors with social distancing, the council found no reason to deny a request from Sons of the American Legion Squadron 50 to sponsor its annual July 4 fireworks from Millie Hill.

“People are looking for relief, a sense of normalcy and something to look forward to,” fireworks committee chairman Michael Laydon said in a letter to the council.

The council approved a $1,000 contribution to the display, up from $750 a year ago.

Roughly 35% of the committee’s fundraising will be wiped out by cancellation of the Independence Day parade, Laydon said. Those funds are raised through the “Fill the Boot” campaign conducted by city firefighters. The budget for last year’s fireworks was about $13,200.

The Menominee Range Historical Foundation, which took charge of the parade in 2019, decided last week to cancel this year’s event due to COVID-19.

After agreeing Wednesday to ease some coronavirus restrictions at Iron Mountain’s parks, the city council Monday authorized City Manager Jordan Stanchina to open more park amenities in consultation with the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department.

This includes pavilion rentals, provided gatherings are kept under 100 at any given time. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 people remain prohibited under the governor’s order, although most pavilion events are concentrated outdoors, Stanchina said.

To assist the public, there will be signs at City Park and elsewhere to help define restrictions that remain in place, while also noting the limited sanitizing the city may provide.

In other action during Monday’s teleconference meeting, the council:

— Approved rubbish drop-offs at the Department of Public Works for city residents from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18; and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. both June 19 and 20.

— Authorized a Work Share program that could potentially save about $20,000 in labor costs over the next two months. Eligible workers could have their hours reduced while still qualifying for $600 in weekly unemployment benefits under the federal CARES Act. There may be a 20% to 30% reduction in hours for administrative employees, City Hall staff, and two police/fire employees. It may also be necessary to close some city offices one day per week, Stanchina said. If services suffer, the program can be rolled back before the July 31 cutoff.

— Agreed to seek bids for a pair of sewer replacement projects, one for relocation of storm sewer on Madison Street between East D and East F streets, and the other for replacement of sanitary sewer on the 1200 block of West Fleshiem Street. Total cost of the projects is estimated at less than $30,000. They will be bid separately, with proposals due June 15.

— Approved a $1,500 contribution to the Lake Antoine Association for milfoil control. The group plans to do an herbicide treatment of 6.45 acres of the lake under a state permit. Mayor Dale Alessandrini suggested the contribution be contingent on a match from Dickinson County but withdrew his idea after council member Bill Revord said the city shouldn’t “play that game.” In a split decision, the county provided $1,500 in May 2019, its first contribution to the program in a number of years.

— Voted 6-1 to renew a special use permit allowing TNT Fireworks of Marquette to have a sales tent at W8126 South U.S. 2. Council member Ken Clawson voted no, citing an objection to consumer fireworks in general.

— In response to a citizen inquiry, heard Police and Fire Services Director Ed Mattson confirm city police officers have worn body cameras “the past eight or nine years.”

— Mentioned the need for an appointment to the planning commission to allow for review of the city’s updated Master Plan.

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