IM comes up short in water grants list

IRON MOUNTAIN — An initial priority list for grants and loans for municipal water projects excludes the city of Iron Mountain as the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy received more than 200 applications statewide.

About 60 projects are on the initial funding list for fiscal year 2024, including a $13.4 million proposal in the city of Kingsford that includes $4.5 million in lead service line replacements. Iron Mountain’s proposed project totaled $13.2 million, including $4.6 million in lead service line costs.

“We’re not going to give up yet,” Iron Mountain City Manager Jordan Stanchina told the city council Monday. “We’re close but we’re not there.”

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund has about $721 million available for applicants. Iron Mountain’s application received a priority score of 75, whereas most of the projects qualifying for aid scored 85 or higher.

Escanaba, classified as significantly overburdened, received a score of 90 for a $20 million project that includes $10.5 in lead service line costs. All of the work can be funded through loan forgiveness and grants, according to the priority list.

Kingsford, which scored 85 on its application as an overburdened community, qualifies for a 50% loan forgiveness and grant package, with about $2.3 million in federal infrastructure borrowing available as well.

Iron Mountain is classified as overburdened, but its lack of a wellhead protection plan — which is in progress — is among the missing points that could put the city within range of funding, Stanchina said.

In addition to its water plan, Iron Mountain submitted an application for a $16.5 million sewer project through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. That proposal, however, received a relatively low score.

Communities have until Nov. 1 to notify EGLE of their intention to apply for funds next year. If any applicants bow out during this cycle, funds may be awarded to the next available project in order of priority.

The state’s water and sewer programs have seen a boost in funding because of federal aid, but applications have soared, too. In the Upper Peninsula, Ironwood, Wakefield, Bessemer, Republic and K.I. Sawyer are among the communities with projects on the initial priority list. Joining Iron Mountain as also-rans are Negaunee, Ishpeming, Stephenson, St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, Gaastra, Newberry, Marquette, Gladstone, Crystal Falls, Caspian, Alpha, Iron River, Adams, Munising, McMillan, Manistique, Sault Ste. Marie, Houghton, Hancock, Ontonagon, Bergland, Rockland, Gogebic and Lake Linden.

Coleman Engineering was hired in February at a cost of up to $14,000 to prepare a package so Iron Mountain could seek a share of the state’s water and sewer funds. Among the proposed areas in the city’s water plan are parts of South Kimberly Avenue; and West Hughitt, Lake, Forest, Adams, West A, East E, East B, East C, Norway, Sixth and Seventh streets.

In other action, the Iron Mountain council:

— Learned the Oscar G. Johnson V.A. Medical Center is willing to purchase the parts needed to restore a crosswalk signal on H Street between the VA and Midtown Mall. Once received, the city’s public works crew will install the parts and bring back the signalized crosswalk, which hasn’t functioned in some time, Stanchina said. Council member Ken Clawson warned it can be a dangerous area for pedestrians, though Stanchina said people will cross whether there’s a signal or not. Edwin Mattson, director of police and fire services, said his agency had opposed the crosswalk from the beginning but the new signal should be “four times as good” as the former one.

— Approved a special use permit for Haven Gwendelyn Bain to offer acupuncture services at 705 E. D St. The planning commission recommended approval after a Sept. 11 public hearing.

— Heard Stanchina report hydrant flushing is scheduled to begin Monday, Sept. 25, lasting three to four days. More information may be posted on the city’s Facebook page.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today