County board reviews mine, drain reports

Johnny DePetro

MARQUETTE — Over the last few weeks, the Marquette County Board was presented a mine report from the mine inspector, a drain report from the Marquette County drain commissioner, and an annual report from both the Marquette County Land Bank Authority and the Marquette County Brownfield Authority.

At the Feb. 15 board meeting, Marquette County Mine Inspector Steve Bertucci showed the 2022 mine report to commissioners. This report contained information about both mines and pits spanning from August 2020 to November.

Negaunee, CCI, Ishpeming and the Eagle, Tilden and Empire mines all passed inspection without flaw. Humboldt Mill, Gwinn-New Swanzy Princeton and Michigamme also passed inspection.

The report found the following to be in need of repair:

≤ St. Lawrence pit’s fence was down in August;

Anne Giroux

≤ the Champion mine pit and shaft had repaired its fence temporarily and the owner was informed of the repairs needed. In the June inspection, the fence was down, but in the July inspection it was repaired;

≤ the Old Richmond audit and two pits needed repairs in October and a party was contacted to repair the fence;

≤ the New England pit fence needed repairs in October and a party was contacted to repair the fence;

≤ it was observed in July that there was a tree down over the fence at an unnamed shaft by campgrounds in Republic;

≤ Bunker Hill and Ann Street, O’Dovero owned properties, were both inspected in August and had no fencing, this was reviewed with Pete O’Dovero, and Bunker Hill and Ann Street were both repaired, but in April it was noted that the fence was cut down so the inspector met with Pete O’Dovero and the Negaunee City Police to resolve the issue.

The board thanked Bertucci for his hard work and presenting the report.

At its March 1 meeting, the board heard a drain report from Marquette County Drain Commissioner Mike Farrell, as well as a report from Anne Giroux, who is executive director with both the Marquette County Land Bank Authority and the Marquette County Brownfield Authority.

Farrell gave the following status updates from the activities report from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021:

≤ responded to a request from Marquette Township for a review of the proposed PUD development at Heritage Silos. This proposed project did not proceed;

≤ responded to a request by Ishpeming Township regarding a request by a potential purchaser of a parcel in Ishpeming Township, a review by the consulting engineer concluded that there was conflicting evidence regarding drainage rights and concluded with a recommendation that the prospective purchaser retain an attorney to conduct a title search;

≤ regular maintenance and sediment removal was completed at the Orchard Street Basin in the summer of 2021. Oberstar Inc. was contracted for this work, the work was completed May 28, sediment removal was not required at the Diorite Street sediment basin;

≤ reviewed several submittals for the drainage revisions required by the proposed construction within the Badger Creek Drainage basin;

≤ reviewed several submittals for stormwater runoff for proposed projects in Marquette Township which were outside the drainage district. Marquette Township does not have an engineering staff and it uses the Marquette County drain commissioner for storm water reviews;

≤ reviewed various public notices submitted by EGLE and MDOT regarding proposed projects with possible impact on drainage in Marquette County;

≤ there was a request for a vacation of lots one through seven of the Plat of Ewing Pines Subdivision, revisions of a recorded plat requires Circuit Court action, the lots being vacated include some easements which were planned to provide utility and stormwater drainage for the lots being vacated and will not be necessary after the vacation, the review by the Drain Commissioner’s consulting engineer found that the proposed vacation is reasonable.

He mentioned the following proposed actions and recommendations: in addition to the regular Badger Creek Drain maintenance, review of development within drainage districts, and subdivision reviews, the following items need to be addressed;

≤ continuing activities to provide cities, townships and communities with pertinent information on storm water management and also addressing nutrient removal and sediment control;

≤ inspection of existing stormwater retention basins and conducting maintenance where necessary;

≤ on-going monitoring of existing systems and detention facilities;

≤ many drainage basins were constructed in subdivisions in the 1970s which were not required to have any provision for future maintenance, at that time these basins were required to be fenced, many of the fences are in disrepair and require maintenance, Farrell will be conducting an inspection to estimate the repair cost;

≤ and work to keep information on Marquette County website current.

Giroux then presented the Marquette County Land Bank Authority annual report. This report showed that the total revenue for 2021 was $91,077 and the total expenses were $85,621. The 2020 fund balance was $188,242 and the 2021 projected fund balance is $193,698.

The land bank completed its first attainably priced, newly constructed single family home in Ishpeming in 2021. The home was funded through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s MSHDA MOD pilot program. The home was sold to a qualifying family in August. The Land Bank also completed two demolition projects and assisted the County Treasurer with one demolition project this year.

Future projects include the Osprey Court Development, a multi-family residential project in the city of Marquette; and attainable housing. The land bank authority is a member of the Marquette County Intergovernmental Housing Task Force. Both on its own and through the Task Force, it is exploring ways to get more attainably priced homes in Marquette County.

The report showed that from 2009-2021, there have been 104 total blighted structures demolished. One of these structures that was recently demolished was an old sausage factory in Ishpeming. The county treasurer funded the project, and the land bank assisted. “People were very happy to see it go,” Giroux said. “It had a collapsed garage in the back so it really was in a dangerous situation for many years, so that was a good one to say goodbye to.”

Giroux then shifted to present the Marquette County Brownfield Authority report. This report showed in 2021 the brownfield authority learned that it was awarded $300,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for assessment of sites throughout the county that have known or perceived contamination related to hazardous substances or petroleum. Speaking about the grant, Giroux said, “This is huge, because these grants are super competitive and very difficult to get.”

The report also highlighted several people/groups that had adopted a brownfield plan for projects including the Northcrest Group, Barrel + Beam, Stone Reflections, Teal Lake Senior Living Community and First Bank.

The report also showed a table displaying the future estimated revenue in years 2022-2026. Administrative reimbursement is projected to be $24,250, EPA grant reimbursement is projected to be $25,229, and local site remediation revolving fund is projected to be $17,662.

Commissioner Johnny DePetro wrapped up the meeting by thanking the UP200 Sled Dog Committee and volunteers for another great race this year. He also reminded everyone of a worthy cause coming up on March 9, the Pigs ‘N Heat hockey game.

“It’s like watching Saturday Night Live the way some of them can skate,” he chuckled.

Taylor Johnson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is



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