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City looks for grant to raze orphanage

December 9, 2012
By KYLE WHITNEY - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE?- The Marquette City Commission on Monday will consider applying for a state grant that would fund the demolition of the city's former Holy Cross Orphanage.

The funding for the grant, which is being sought jointly by the city and the Marquette County Land Bank Authority, would stem from $25 million Michigan has allocated for blight elimination in the state. The program allocates $10 million for work in Detroit and $15 million to be distributed throughout the state.

Grants will be awarded based on the anticipated impact to public safety, stabilization of property values and enhanced economic development.

Under the city's proposed plan, the orphanage, which has previously been declared a public nuisance in Marquette County Circuit Court, would be condemned in March and demolition would begin in the spring.

Since it was last used in 1981, the building has fallen into disrepair and, according to the city's grant application, a portion of the roof has collapsed, as have many of the building's structural elements.

According to the application, the demolition of the structure would greatly increase the safety of the neighborhood, in addition to boosting property values and spurring further development in the area.

The former orphanage has been vacant for more than 30 years and is currently owned by the Las Vegas-based Meranto Living Trust.

Were the $1 million grant to be awarded, $700,000 would go toward demolition and site cleanup, while $300,000 would be used for abatement. The goal, according to the city application, is to complete the project by July, leaving behind a 2.3-acre green space, zoned for multi-family residential use.

With its application, the city would include letters of support from the Marquette Downtown Development Authority and the nearby D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans

The city may be required to provide some in-kind services in order to assist in the project.

In order to be considered, grant applications must be submitted by Wednesday. Decisions on selected projects are expected by Feb. 15.

In other action, the board is set to:

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is



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