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Negaunee recreational projects nearly done

Jackson Mine Park on Iron Ore Heritage Trail spur eyed for completion

Debris is seen on Tobin Street on Tuesday after A. Lindberg and Sons began excavating to install water and sewer infrastructure at the site of a new pavilion at Jackson Mine Park in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

NEGAUNEE — Two projects in Negaunee are expected to improve outdoor recreation options in the city by mid-summer.

The Jackson Mine Park pavilion, a project that has been years in the making, is now nearing completion.

Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron said Associated Constructors began excavating outside of the 55-foot-long-by 30-foot-wide structure for the installation of water and sewer lines.

“Workers are finishing up the painting along with plumbing work on water, sewer and the sinks,” Heffron said.

The $485,000 project near the Iron Ore Heritage Trail spur on Tobin Street began taking shape about two years ago, but the planning process started in 2012.

The front of the Jackson Mine Park pavilion along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Negaunee is pictured. The project, which is expected to be completed this summer, was funded by several sources. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers

The structure and surrounding amenities are being funded by a $291,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant; a $70,200 grant from the Cliffs Natural Resources/Eagle Mine Community Fund; an $8,500 contribution from the Negaunee Community Fund; $90,600 in-kind for city employee labor and materials; and $25,000 from the Iron Ore Recreation Authority.

Heffron said the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant required the project to be completed by some time in June, but the city has asked the state agency for an extension.

“The wet weather last year caused some issues and delays,” he said. “The weather this year is being a bit more cooperative, but then COVID-19 put the project behind by about a month.”

The pavilion will provide a covered recreation area for picnicking and events, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms, he said.

In the future, the facility is expected to offer a kitchen, but for now, that area of the building has been designated as storage.

Other amenities such as parking, landscaping and exterior light features will be included in the initial project.

Progress was also made in a partnership with Negaunee Public Schools to upgrade the Jackson Grove Tennis Courts.

The city council approved the sale of the property to NPS for $1 via a quit-claim deed during its regular meeting in May.

NPS Superintendent Dan Skewis, in an email Tuesday, that the school is working with paving companies and hopes the resurfaced courts will be available by mid-summer.

“Negaunee Public Schools is excited to acquire the Jackson Grove tennis courts. We have an amazing complex near Negaunee High School, but when we host other schools for dual meets or tournaments, we often overflow onto other courts throughout the community,” Skewis said. “Our courts near the football field are no longer safe to play on and we do not have any plans to repair or replace them. Jackson Grove made sense to us, considering we paid $1, and there is much less work needed to make these courts playable than those near the football field. “

Under the agreement, tennis courts will continue to be the sole use of the parcel and it must remain open to the public, Heffron said.

“This is a great partnership,” Heffron said. “The city has limited resources, but what it does have is land, and at the end of the day, we have something that has always been a park and it will still be a park — but with upgraded tennis courts. As long as the school is not using it for a function, residents can go out and play a game of tennis.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at lbowers@miningjournal.net.

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