Community Newsletters

July Newsletter – City Manager’s Corner

Greetings from your City Manager

Summer is my favorite time of year. It’s the season of exploration and discovery. The sun shines on longer days, and at night, the stars seem to be just a little bit brighter.

In Negaunee, summer is facilitating new possibilities for us. In May, I told you about the Project Empire initiative, and my goal to secure funds for the betterment of our city. I’m pleased to announce that we were able to receive $25,000 to dedicate to our Economic Strategic Plan and Downtown Streetscape project. Let me take a moment to tell you a little bit more about this program.

Overall, our Economic Strategic Plan’s main approach is to connect business leaders, residents, government officials and economic specialists, forging a network of relationships in order to map out a tangible and achievable plan for our economic success.

We are building momentum, bringing with it another generation of entrepreneurs and workers alike; meanwhile, drawing upon the wisdom and experience of our past generations to create an environment where everyone can thrive for years to come. My staff and I have and will continue to strive towards retaining and expanding our current mix of business and jobs here in Negaunee.

The second component of this funding – the Downtown Streetscape – will become a driving force in promoting Negaunee now and in the future. This plan will work primarily with downtown business owners to re-envision and work towards a more cohesive downtown. As we move forward with this exciting project, we hope that you will personally take part in the process during public meetings.

I hope each of you and your families have a safe and enjoyable summer. The place we call home is beautiful and unique. Take the time to enjoy and appreciate how lucky we are to live in such a special area. As always, feel free to reach out to me if there is anything you need.

-Nate Heffron

Library Conducts Planning Survey

July 2018

The  Negaunee Public Library is conducting a survey as part of the strategic planning process. Stop by the library or senior center to pick up a copy, or visit  www.surveymonkey.com/r/3VY3G6X to complete it online.

The  Negaunee Public Library wraps up its summer reading programs July 27. Program highlights include a Star Wars party for ages 9 and up from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, storytime with a violinist at 11:30 a.m. Thurs., July 19, and storytime with a geologist at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 26. The tween/teen finale party will be at 3 p.m. Monday, July 30, with prizes awarded for those ages 10 to 17 who have read the most during the program. The children’s ice cream party will be at 2 p.m. Tues., July 31.  Check the library’s Facebook page for details and other special programs.

Storytime at the market is at 5 p.m. on  Wednesdays through September and will not be held if it rains. All other storytimes and children’s programs take a break in  August.

Library staff will host a strategic planning discussion at noon on Wednesday,  August 15 at the Negaunee Senior Center. Come and discuss the future direction of the Negaunee  Public  Library.

July Newsletter – County Senior Citizens Services Millage on August Ballot

The August 7 ballot will have the Marquette County Senior Services millage up for renewal. The millage currently funds services to senior citizens at four senior centers throughout the county.

The wording of the millage request is as follows:

COUNTY PROPOSAL A FOR MARQUETTE COUNTY SERVICES TO SENIOR CITIZENS

This proposal will allow Marquette County to continue to provide services to senior citizens by renewing the .4474 mills approved by voters in 2012. 

For continuing to provide services to senior citizens of Marquette  County, shall the previously voted millage be renewed authorizing the County of Marquette to levy up to .4474 mills for a period of six years, from 2018-2023, both years inclusive, on all taxable property within Marquette County? The millage will raise approximately $1,011,297 in the first year.

This county millage is the largest set funding source for the Negaunee Senior Citizens Center.  The second largest portion of the center’s budget comes from fundraising, grant writing and donations from the community.

In addition to funding senior services, Community Action Alger Marquette (CAAM) receives funds for its Meals on Wheels program, and Lake Superior Home Health & Hospice get money for Adult Day Services.

A “yes” vote will continue this millage funding source for senior services in our county.

May 2018 – Streets

Spring is here—we hope! We know that one of the first things on the minds of many during springtime is the condition of our streets. Just like across our state and throughout the nation, the same factors have a direct impact on how we deal with maintaining our streets; chief among them is cost. With this factor known, we must find creative ways to deal with the problem at hand: maintaining our streets to the best of our abilities. The city will continue provide information on this challenge, starting with this informational piece that explains how streets are made. In the coming months, we will cover the cost of streets, planning for the maintenance (where, when & why), and how you can be part of the solution.

How Streets Are Made

Fortunately, the City of Negaunee is not planning on building any new streets; however, each of the layers in the diagram below must be taken into consideration when conduction an overlay (repaving) on top of an existing street. If any of the layers are compromised due to overuse, erosions, settling or overweight traffic, new layers would need to be constructed in order to not only stabilize the street but to prolong its life.

The greatest concern with our streets lies with the base and asphalt layers. In many cases, we will be able to grind off the surface layer of the asphalt and conduct a simple overlay. If a street has degraded so badly, additional steps will need to be made to reconstruct the base layer. This will consist of digging up the street, adding to both construction time and overall costs.

Another consideration that comes into to play when planning major street repairs or maintenance is knowing what’s under the street. Are there sewer or water lines that need repairs, too? If so, such needs increase the overall costs. The City of Negaunee is performing assessments of both our water and sewer lines to determine their statuses in order to conduct costs effective street projects in the future.

As we move forward with future maintenance and repair projects, the City will use every tool it can to assess, plan and put into action the necessary steps to achieve our goals of maintaining our streets using the most cost-effective methods available.

2018 Major Projects

  •  Total Reconstruction: Croix Street from west of Baldwin Avenue, easterly to US-41
  •  Water Main & Heavy Reconstruction: Birch Street

2018 Major Maintenance

  •  Wedging & Leveling: Brown Avenue from Cherry Street south to Main Street
  •  Crack sealing of various streets
  •  Catch basin and manhole replacement and repairs
  •  Tree removal and stump grinding

2019 Major Projects

  •  Milling & Overlay: Brown Avenue from Cherry Street south to Main Street
  •  Milling & Overlay: Kanter Street from Case Street to Peck Street
  •  Milling & Overlay: Peck Street from Kanter Street to Pioneer Avenue

2019 Major Maintenance (tentative)

  •  Milling & Overlay: Gold Street from Rail Street to Copper Street
  •  Milling & Overlay: East Arch Street from Hungerford Avenue to Mitchell Avenue
  •  Crack sealing of various streets

2018 MDOT Project

  •  Milling & Overlay: US-41, Water Street to Malton Road

2019 MDOT Project

  •  Milling & Overlay: US-41/M-28 Business Route to US-41

May 2018 – City Manager’s Corner

Greetings from your City Manager

In the coming weeks, the city will begin work on the establishment of a historic district. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in conjunction with their parent organization, the Department of Talent and Economic Development, has secured $45,000 through their Project Empire Initiative to get us on the right track.

I’ve also created the Special Committee on Cultural & Historical Preservation. This group will assist in determining the boundaries of the historic district, hold public meetings to gain insight and feedback from the community, work closely with downtown businesses and property owners, and assist in preparing a strategic plan for the historic district.

We’ve enlisted the help of Jessica Flores of Preservation Forward. She is a historic preservation professional who specializes in the rehabilitation of an historically built environment.

One of our main goals is to have the downtown area listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and she will be helping to facilitate this initiative on behalf of the city.

The vision of focusing on our future by preserving our past is long overdue. I hope you will both support this initiative and participate in the process. I look forward to engaging our community during this exciting venture.

Now, I’d like to take some time and talk about streets. In this edition, we’ve provided an overview of the major street and maintenance projects on deck for the coming season. I want to give you as much data as I can, so I’m also including some general information about street projects. This should give you an idea of the process of constructing a street, the cost of construction, how, when and why we choose certain projects, and lastly, how you can have a voice in this process.

In a perfect world, we’d be able to fix every single street quickly and permanently at virtually no cost. Unfortunately, this is not our reality. Street maintenance is always going to be an ongoing task, but I want to assure you that the City is working diligently to find the most responsible and equitable methods available.

We will have at least one meeting before each major project this construction season. The primary objective of these gatherings is to assist those who may be directly affected by any construction and to provide a detailed overview of each project. Residents who live on streets where work is taking place will receive a letter with information about the meetings. The public is also welcome, and we will provide dates and times over many different mediums.

Please join us on Facebook for quick notices, and feel free to peruse our website for additional postings or information.

—Nate Heffron

May 2018 – Burn Permits

Recreational campfires are illegal within the City of Negaunee unless an approved Burn Permit was issued by the Negaunee Fire Department. These permits are relatively easy to obtain, but advance planning is needed.

One-year, recreational campfire permits are issued at the Utility Billing/City Treasurer’s office in the Negaunee City Hall. The cost of the permit is $10.

It is important that everyone understands the issuance of a burn permit does not remove any civil liability of the permit holder. The individual responsible for the fire is civilly liable for any damage caused by the fire as well as the smoke produced. If the fire or those around your fire cause a disturbance, your permit will be revoked and the fire extinguished.

Individuals are only permitted to burn clean firewood. No building materials, lumber or synthetic materials of any kind are permitted to be burned. Burning of any material other than clean firewood is prohibited by local ordinance.

Lastly, it is important to consider wind direction and the proximity of neighboring homes before lighting your fire. Be mindful of others in the area by reminding those enjoying the evening around your fire to keep their voices down.

A list of all rules dealing with recreation burning within the city is available at Negaunee City Hall.

City water, sewer projects upcoming – April 2018

The City of Negaunee has obtained a SAW Grant from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) totaling $499,500 to complete an Asset Management Program for our sanitary sewer system at no cost to the City.

The scope of the project entails examining the sanitary system and pumping facilities, conducting GPS RTK data collection, surveying, mapping and inspection and integrating all data in a GIS platform.

The City’s sanitary system is approximately 34 miles in length, including seven (7) pump stations, force mains, and gravity piping with manholes. The contract was awarded to GEI Consultants of Michigan, Marquette office.

Residents will notice GEI employees throughout the City’s sanitary system over the next couple of years. The program will provide a detailed analysis of our system to show where our critical needs are as well as where preventative-type services should be directed. The results will enable the DPW to target the areas that will provide a more efficient and reliable system that will come with cost of savings in the future.

The water department has also been updating its Asset Management Program through the MDEQ to provide for a more reliable and efficient system. The program enables our city to model and map (GIS) and continue to improve our water system to provide our residents with safe, clean and affordable drinking water.

The program also models the system to provide for the volume and pressure to sustain in the aid of fire protection for all residents. Our system has approximately 27 miles of water main and associated isolation and shut-off valves, 224 hydrants and one water tower.

We are working with UPEA Engineers & Architects and the MDEQ for this project. We are currently working on a time-and-material basis with UPEA until we have satisfied the DEQ mandate with a viable capital improvement plan to go along with the Asset Management Plan.

City Manager’s Corner – April 2018 Newsletter

Greetings from your City Manager

For centuries, people all over the world have claimed to be able to see the future. Though the promise of possessing the keys to infinite wisdom and unfettered success is undoubtedly alluring, no one is able to predict, with absolute certainty, what the future holds. We all have expectations for what lies ahead for us, but we are the only ones who can turn those expectations into reality.

For Negaunee, this means joining together as leaders, entrepreneurs, and residents to build a bright and engaging future, while also paying respect to and preserving the past.

In the last few weeks, I have been working with both our City Council and a wide variety of our citizens, to start to piece together what the future could hold for Negaunee. We, as a community, have so much potential and I’m excited to see what’s in store for us. There are a few projects that are starting to come together, and I want to take this opportunity to share them with you.

One of our first steps is the creation of the Special Committee on Blight Resolution. It will be the responsibility of this committee to determine the extent of blight within Negaunee. They will then provide recommendations for eliminating existing issues and give suggestions as to how to deter any future problematic areas.

We will also be teaming up with the Lake Superior Community Partnership, utilizing their expertise in economic development to provide direct services to businesses withing Negaunee. The goal is to both retain and expand local business.

I am also developing a strategic plan for both the downtown area and the US-41 corridor. I want to work hand in hand with the Council and our residents to capitalize off of specific economic opportunities.

Additionally, the City has joined the Superior Trade Zone, which is a group of counties, townships and municipalities that have formed a multi-government partnership. The purpose of strengthening current economic growth. This move provides Negaunee with access to new economic opportunities and allows us to have a hand in shaping the region.

While planning for our future is necessary, we cannot move forward without looking back at how we’ve arrived at this point. Our past is just as important as our future, and it is our job as citizens to recognize the symbiotic relationship these key areas of time have.

Out Council has taken formal steps that allow me to work with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in the interest of developing a historic district within Negaunee. I look forward to including the community in this project, to determine the boundaries of this district, to help us preserve our history, and to gain insight and ideas on how you, as citizens, want to showcase and maintain our community’s character.

Negaunee’s future is as vibrant and invigorating as we make it. If you are able to, I encourage you to attend our public hearings and see for yourself what’s in store for our community. If you can’t attend the meetings, but still want to make your voice heard, you are more than welcome to send and e-mail or a letter. I want to hear from you! Let’s create our future together!

 

Nate Heffron