Bernie Rivers Field shelter in the works

NEGAUNEE — After years of effort, Negaunee residents will finally get to take advantage of a shelter at Bernie Rivers Field.

The Negaunee City Council voted at a special meeting on Wednesday to accept a bid of $16,950 from Penchura LLC for a pre-engineered park shelter, which will be installed by Sept. 30.

Mayor Don Gladwell said a shelter had been part of the original renovation design for the park, but the Land and Water Conservation Grant, from which 50 percent of the funding for the Rivers Field project is derived, could not provide the funding for it until recently.

The original $100,000 grant was awarded in 2014, with the city providing a match that consisted of in-kind services as well as some funding.

“This is really an ongoing thing with the state of Michigan for the last three years. The original design of River Park renovation was going to have a pavilion at one time,” Gladwell said. “Then the state came back and said we could not do it — there was not enough money.”

Gladwell said the city was recently informed that there was a slight surplus in the LWCF grant, meaning the shelter could be added back in – but the timetable to complete the project is short.

“We are under the gun a little bit,” Gladwell said. “Unfortunately, because of federal laws — how they get their monies have changed over the last 6 months. Now they are calling us and saying that if we are going to do this, then we have to have it done this year. That’s why this is on the agenda at a special meeting.”

The shelter is expected to be completed by the first part of October, Gladwell said.

The council also approved a motion to begin negotiations with Negaunee Cable Company for the sale of city property adjacent to the water tower.

Negaunee Cable Company, which is owned by Councilman Nick Visser, owns the buildings and equipment on the property, but currently leases the land from the city. Visser abstained from voting on the issue.

NCC tendered an offer of $5,000, according to an agenda supplement.

The property was appraised in the amount of $10,000 and has been deemed surplus by both city staff and the planning commission.

Before negotiations can take place, the city charter requires city’s intent to vacate the property be published once per week for four weeks, an Aug. 18 letter from City Attorney Raymond Odea states.

“As part of the negotiations, the city’s disposal of assets property policy must be attached to the purchase agreement, all utility easements must be retained and an effort should be made to obtain the best possible price,” the letter states “It should be noted that an appraisal of the property has been completed at a fee of $1,500.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.