UP secures Rural Development grants

EAST LANSING — The cities of Iron Mountain, Norway, Crystal Falls and Iron River are among 12 Upper Peninsula communities awarded Rural Development grants through U.S. Department of Agriculture, Michigan USDA Director Brandon Fewins said Thursday.

“These projects represent significant infrastructure investments in public safety and medical care for Upper Peninsula communities,” Fewins said. “This showcases how USDA is working to strengthen rural Michigan.”

Total investment in the Upper Peninsula is $753,500.

Iron Mountain will use a $14,300 grant to purchase a patrol vehicle. The vehicle will be an addition to their current fleet. The police department has an increased need for patrol vehicles for the new code enforcement position in the department.

Norway’s $23,200 grant will go toward buying a patrol vehicle as well. This will replace an older one with high mileage. The grant also includes emergency lighting and safety equipment.

Crystal Falls will use a $27,400 grant for a four-wheel drive patrol vehicle to replace a very old, high-mileage one. The grant also includes emergency lighting and safety equipment.

Iron River will use a $100,000 grant to acquire a snowplow that will replace one from 2001 with high mileage that was barely operable last year.

Other U.P. grants include:

— Munising Memorial Hospital, in Alger County, $63,000 to purchase a mobile X-ray room. The medical equipment will include computer interface, processing software, automatic transfer of patient information, and reports.

— Adams Township, in Houghton County, $50,000 to purchase a pumper truck. This an older one that has outlived its useful life. The new pumper truck will be critical to helping the volunteer fire department fight fires.

— Gogebic County, $8,400 to purchase a new heating system boiler, which will replace a 30-year-old model. The boiler is in the Natural Resource Center, which houses the county’s Forestry and Park Division, the Soil Conservation District and the Michigan State University Extension office.

— The city of Wakefield, in Gogebic County, $242,000 to purchase an existing commercial facility to relocate their department of public works operation. The current DPW facilities consist of three separate buildings that are more than 100 years old, fail to meet current building code requirements, and are undersized for modern equipment, posing a safety concern for staff. The new site will allow the city to consolidate all of the DPW operations into a single location that houses critical equipment. Funding includes a backup power generator, and a lift to permit in-house vehicle maintenance and repair.

— Houghton County, $70,600 to purchase a pair of patrol vehicles. The sheriff’s department has a fleet of 12 vehicles that maintain 24-hour road patrols. The vehicles average 50,000 to 60,000 miles of use per year. The vehicles that will be replaced have more than 200,000 miles each.

— The city of Houghton, in Houghton County, $25,700 grant to purchase a replacement patrol vehicle.

— Keweenaw County, $18,400 to purchase a patrol vehicle. The vehicle will replace an older fleet vehicle with more than 200,000 miles and high maintenance costs. Keweenaw County is the least populous county in Michigan and has long patrol routes between populated areas in the county.

— The city of Manistique, in Schoolcraft County, $110,500 to purchase an ambulance. Manistique Public Safety is a small, full-service department that provides first response police, fire and emergency medical services. The ambulance division is a certified Advanced Life Support service staffed by paramedics, emergency medical technician specialists, and emergency medical technicians that support four ambulances. In addition to responding to 911 emergency calls, the department also does long-distance patient transfers to larger hospitals offering advanced levels of care.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. For more information, go to https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program.


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