IM might remove century-old retaining wall

A retaining wall on West Ludington Street in Iron Mountain isn’t in danger of collapsing soon, but city officials are considering whether it should be removed or replaced. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — A retaining wall on West Ludington Street between Forest and South Pine streets will be evaluated for replacement or removal.

“It has been patched many times throughout the years but is getting to the point that any additional patches will not be effective,” City Manger Jordan Stanchina said. The first step, he said, is to get prices on a topographical survey.

The sandstone wall, dating back more than a century, is marked with traffic cones and barricades but the street is still open. Cement blocks have been placed in front of vulnerable sections.

In talks this week with the city council, Stanchina said the wall isn’t in danger of collapsing soon, but the time has come to take action. The city has roughly $550,000 in unspent federal American Rescue Plan funds that might be tapped for a project.

Council member David Farragh noted a sewer main runs inside the wall, but Stanchina said there are options for relocating it.

Removing the wall would include taking out the upper portion of Ludington Street, which splits when approaching from the east. A topographical study would address how leaving a sloped hill would affect the area, and whether a neighboring street might be rebuilt.

In other action, the council:

≤ Consented to spending an estimated $52,000 for additional paving under a contract awarded last year to Bacco Construction Co. of Iron Mountain. About $31,000 is needed to repave the parking lot at the police and fire building, along with 125 feet of a gravel entrance road between the parking lot and Brown Street. A storm sewer line was replaced in the parking lot last fall, Stanchina said. Another $21,000 will be used to repave a city alley that runs north-south between First National Bank and Carlos Cantina. That project will be done in conjunction with plans by FNB to repave its parking lot.

≤ Agreed to send a police recruit to the Northern Michigan Regional Police Academy from May through August. In December, two recruits were sponsored at Oakland Community College Police Academy in Auburn Hills and they’re expected to graduate soon.

Sending a third recruit to NMU this spring was also part of the plan. Grants offered through the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards are covering most of the cost.

≤ Renewed for five years a lease agreement with Pitney Bowes for a postage machine at the police department. The new rate is $192.30 per quarter, up from $108. The cost is for the machine only, not postage.

≤ Approved a contract with Guardian Pest Solutions of Superior, Wis., for pest control at the police and fire building. The annual cost is $851, up from $775.

≤ Authorized an additional $5,000 on a time and materials basis for engineering services on the Pewabic Hill trail project. Adjustments to the bid specifications required extra work from Coleman Engineering Co. of Iron Mountain.

≤ Heard council member Cathy Tomassoni discuss the AxMITax ballot initiative. Supporters have offered no plan for adequate replacement revenue if voters should approve a constitutional amendment to eliminate property taxes in Michigan, she said. Dickinson County Board adopted a resolution last month protesting AxMITax, warning it will lead to a drastic reduction or even the end of services provided by municipalities, counties, public schools, libraries and community colleges. The group needs 446,198 valid signatures to get on the November ballot.


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