Heritage sites slow to sign Park agreements

CALUMET TOWNSHIP – Scott See is working to get signed agreements from Keweenaw National Historical Park Heritage Site partners, but the pace is slower than he’d like.

See, KNHP Advisory Commission executive director, told members during his report at the AC regular meeting Tuesday in the KNHP headquarters building, all 19 Heritage Site members were supposed to have turned in their signed agreements to the officials by Tuesday, but so far, only 11 have complied.

“I’ll be contacting the remaining sites later this week to see where we are,” he said.

See said he’s hoping, also, to get new sites signed up, but that hasn’t happened, yet.

In October, the Advisory Commission made a purchase agreement with Franklin Township, owners of the Quincy Smelting Works site in Ripley, to buy the site and its artifacts, and See said he’s been talking with Brian Hoduski, KNHP chief of museum services, and Erik Nordberg, Michigan Technological University archivist, about doing an inventory of the artifacts, which are in the township office building and in several buildings on the site.

He’s also talking with QSA members about what assistance the advisory commission can give them as the change of ownership progresses until 2015, See said.

“They want to continue to do tours,” he said.

See said he’s also talking with KNHP staff members about what the park will do with the site once they take ownership in 2015.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning to redesign M-26 next to the smelter site, and See said he and KNHP Landscape Architect Steve DeLong have been talking with MDOT officials about the plan.

“We want to do it so it’s sensitive to the smelter,” he said.

See said he’s also talking with MDOT officials about putting up additional signage related to the park.

“We’ve got some signs out there (indicating individual sites), but nothing announcing the existence of the park,” he said.

Although there is some uncertainty about getting funding from the Interior Department due to the recent efforts in Congress regarding the “fiscal cliff,” See said the advisory commission is going ahead with plans to once again provide heritage grants to businesses and sites, which help tell the copper mining story. The advisory commission was intending to provide up to $100,000 in Heritage Grants, and the park was planning on providing up to $45,000 in grants.

“Actions in (Washington), D.C., may impact that,” he said.