DLP commits potential funds to city project

Duke LifePoint has agreed to allow the city of Marquette to capture a larger share of the tax reimbursements accounted for in the company’s brownfield plan related to the relocation of UP Health System-Marquette’s hospital. The city is responsible for transportation improvements, including the construction of roundabouts on U.S. 41, shown above, which city officials say have run over budget. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

MARQUETTE — Duke LifePoint has agreed to help the city of Marquette with some costs related to the hospital transportation project by paying unused funds from its portion of the hospital brownfield plan toward the city’s obligations, which have run over budget in recent months.

The Marquette City Commission Monday unanimously approved an amendment to the reimbursement agreement for the hospital replacement project, with final approval pending from the Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority at its Sept. 28 meeting.

DLP recently determined it likely won’t require the entire $10 million originally earmarked for the reimbursement of its brownfield eligible activities, so DLP has agreed to forgo any unused balance from its brownfield tax capture and allow the city to use it instead, according to city documents.

The commission approved the agreement in a 5-0 vote, with commissioners Sara Cambensy and Sarah Reynolds absent.

City Manager Mike Angeli said the potential $400,000-$500,000 will offset the recent budget increase in the city’s hospital transportation project. The commission in August approved a budget amendment of $3.2 million for the $30 million project, which is being funded by public bonds to be paid off via tax increment financing through the MBRA.

“This is actually a good news story,” Angeli said. “It shows in no so small a way how DLP has been good partners with us in developing this new hospital.”

The city has been discussing this possibility with DLP for “quite some time,” he added, and DLP was willing from the beginning.

“It’s yet to be seen whether they will actually have money leftover, however every indication so far is that they will,” Angeli said.

The new hospital, to replace the former Marquette General Hospital facility, has been under construction since last May at 850 W. Baraga Ave., a site formerly used as an industrial rail yard. More recently, it was the site of the Municipal Service Center, which has been rebuilt along Wright Street as part of the brownfield plan between DLP and the city.

The plan established DLP as responsible for environmental remediation, site preparation and infrastructure, estimated at $10 million, and the city for road improvements and relocation of the Municipal Service Center, estimated at $31.2 million after the August amendment.

Those costs are reimbursable through the MBRA via tax increment financing, with taxes captured from the for-profit DLP used to pay back the city’s public bonds and DLP’s eligible costs.

Mary Wardell can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is mwardell@miningjournal.net.