City of Hancock historical museum nears opening

Hancock City Hall will house a historical museum on the ground floor in what was once the city’s fire hall. The new museum is anticipated to be open in time for the annual Key Ingredients event next month. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo)

HANCOCK — Hancock is aiming to open its new historical museum in mid-July, City Manager Mary Babcock said at Monday night’s Downtown Development Authority meeting.

The museum will be on the ground floor garage at city hall, in what was once the city’s fire hall.

The city’s museum subcommittee will be painting the room and is also trying to find display cases, Babcock said.

It will have a historic 1906 vehicle that had been on loan to another museum. Other historical items will be on display in the cases.

To avoid leaving high-value materials there, the displays will include reproductions of historical photos, accompanied by narrative text.

Babcock said for now, the plan is to run the museum during the summer. It’s tentatively scheduled to open by July 14.

“Our goal is to have it open for Key Ingredients so people can look at the car and look at the other things in there,” she said.

The annual event will include a dance on the D&N building parking deck. The city was able to obtain a liquor license for the beer tent, which will be run by the fire department.

Musicians will be playing at 12 sites downtown. Eleven food venues are participating, including Milly’s and La Cantina.

In other action, the DDA:

≤ Approved OHM’s proposal for an additional $13,500 in work scope for the Coastal Zone Management Waterfront Shoreline protection grant. To combat erosion, the city will create an area of planting and hardscape at the boardwalk along the waterfront west of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. The city had lost about 12 feet, preventing the original plan of building a sidewalk, Babcock said.

≤ Approved engaging in the Michigan Main Street program. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. program assists communities interested in revitalizing and preserving their traditional commercial district. Among the benefits would be being able to offer grants of up to $4,000 to new businesses, Babcock said.

≤ Approved a $10,000 facade grant for window and door upgrades at Gino’s Restaurant.

≤ Approved a letter of support for the Hancock Housing Foundation Revitalization and Placemaking (RAP) grant. A former funeral home across from Lakeview Manor will be used for two-bedroom apartments for people 55 and over with modest incomes. Plans call for new construction on top of the existing building.

≤ Approved the 2023-24 DDA budget. Revenue has gone up as newer developments such as the Canal Crossings continuum have been included in the DDA boundaries.

“With that huge jump in revenue, I think we’re going to have to start looking at projects that we can do, and think bigger, so that we can create some more dramatic change,” Babcock said.

An amended 2014 project list had several items, including $2 million for streetscape improvements and $30,000 for a Quincy Green ice rink.


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