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Move to raze old orphanage the right one

December 12, 2012
The Mining Journal

A once stately structure that was home to scores of less fortunate young residents of the region has deteriorated into a major eyesore and safety concern in south Marquette.

The former Holy Cross Orphanage perched on the corner of Altamont and Fisher streets is the structure, and the city is taking yet another step in its attempt to have something done with the building.

In conjunction with the Marquette County Land Bank, the city has applied for a $1 million state grant through the 2012 Blight Elimination Program.

The program was created with $25 million from the $97.2 million Michigan received as its share of a lawsuit settlement with the country's largest mortgage providers. Of that $25 million, $10 million has been designated for Detroit with $15 million for the rest of the state.

For years the city has prodded owners of the property to fix it up, tear it down or sell it to someone who would take those steps, but it has met with resistance every time. It now sits in the hands of a Las Vegas-based trust after being foreclosed on, and an outstanding court order deems the property a public nuisance and stipulates it must be repaired.

Despite the order, nothing has been done to the building and it remains open to vandals and curiosity seekers.

City and county officials have begun the process of filing for condemnation of the property, which included a walk-through by a county building inspector. As stated in its grant application, the city expects to file for condemnation in March.

If the city and county are successful with their grant application, the building could be razed by July and 2.3 acres of green space would be created. That alone would be a great improvement, but the multi-family zoned tract would also be available for development.

No one likes to see a historical aspect of the city taken away, but it would also be difficult to find anyone who doesn't agree that the city has done every thing in its power to have something done with the building.

It's time to take that final step.



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