Negaunee DDA approves city’s downtown enhancement project

The city of Negaunee worked with Julia Cogger from the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development agency to develop blueprints of what downtown Negaunee could look like after the Negaunee Downtown Enhancement Project. (Image courtesy of CUPPAD)

NEGAUNEE — Negaunee’s Downtown Development Authority approved the Negaunee Downtown Enhancement Project at Monday night’s DDA meeting.

The DDA unanimously approved the overall project, which will now go to the Negaunee Planning Commission and then to the city council on May 1 for final approval.

The project focuses on enhancing the downtown Negaunee area with parks, social hubs and making the area more walkable for residents and visitors to gather while preserving the buildings and beautifying downtown.

City Manager Nate Heffron said that several themes will be displayed throughout the downtown, including iron, weathering steel and natural beauty.

“We tried to take as much, I believe in my opinion, a minimalist approach that is tactful, not too crazy,” Heffron said. “We aren’t putting up a Ferris wheel on Iron Street or a big giant slide into Teal Lake. There’s some areas that folks are really going to enjoy in the community.”

During Monday’s meeting, the public was invited to attend and give their input as Heffron gave a presentation on the project overview. Before the presentation began, Heffron said that the funding behind the project came from an $885,000 grant applied for by Negaunee to the state of Michigan.

“The state of Michigan felt, from what we understand, we were one of the best projects they have on the list that met the criteria,” Heffron said.

Heffron said the grant put in was based on plans that the Negaunee community said it wanted the city to do. The grant will create social areas for outdoor use and be tied into the streetscape while continuing a water project.

The project in total will cost an estimated $2.1 million after installation of fiber networks for businesses, new street lights, water and sewer.

“It’s a very comprehensive project,” Heffron said. “We’re doing it all at the same time and we’ve got all these different sources of funds coming in.”

Heffron said that Negaunee has over $1 million in grant funds coming in to make the project happen.

“It’s a very exciting time to be in downtown Negaunee,” Heffron said. “This is the biggest investment that Negaunee has seen in quite a long time and we’re very excited about it.”

The Downtown Enhancement Project areas will include Firefighter Square, Erickson Park, Chiri Park, Tobin Street Place, Irontown Plaza and Rail Street Lookout:

≤ Firefighters Square will have one of the bigger changes. The area will include an eight-foot statue of a historic firefighter, informational plaques of the fire station and firefighters, dedicated parking for firefighters, major intersection construction, a rain garden and walkways.

≤ Ericson Park will have native plants and trees based on climate.

≤ Chiri Park will be the location of the Negaunee Farmers Market and have open green space for activities.

≤ Tobin Street Place will have more intimate seating.

≤ Irontown Plaza will have a kiosk for city happenings, dedicated event space, outdoor seating and unique light fixtures.

≤ Rail Street Overlook will have outdoor gas fire places and additional seating.

Residents and visitors will see an overall revamping of Iron Street with trees, benches, trash cans, new ADA-complaint sidewalks and new street lighting fixtures, all to help attract more business to downtown.

For more information on the project or questions, contact Heffron at 906-475-7700, ext. 11 or by visiting online at cityofnegaunee.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today