Houghton OKs grant app. for business rehab

HOUGHTON – The Houghton City Council Wednesday approved submitting a grant application to help rehabilitate an abandoned property on the Houghton waterfront as a new location for Roy’s Pasties.

The new location is just west of Aspirus Keweenaw Medical Arts, at a former welding shop.

“It’s their desire to move their bakery … they need a larger location,” said City Manager Scott MacInnes.

The city is applying for $110,000 in Michigan Economic Development Corporation community block grant funds to help purchase the property, with Roy’s contributing a $35,000 match.

The total project is about $795,000, including construction and equipment, MacInnes said. The new building will be multi-story, with a second floor intended as rental space, MacInnes said.

A public hearing at the meeting yielded no comments.

In other action, the council:

approved a sign variance for an incoming AutoZone, which will build a new facility at the site of the former General Store at 812 Memorial Road. The sign will be allowed an additional 93 square feet; city ordinance allows a maximum of 100, counting both sides. However, it was not allowed to exceed the 25-foot height limit.

The vote passed 3-2, with Councilors Craig Kurtz, Mike Needham and Daniel Salo voting for it and Gernot Joachim and Rachel Lankton voting against.

heard a report from Department of Public Works Supervisor Mark Zenner. The city’s new grader was a “big plus” in recent snow clearing. Crews are getting caught up in street widening; they hope to be out of older parts of Houghton soon to work on subdivisions. There have been about half a dozen water leaks, and a handful of freeze-ups. The water meter install project will wrap up today; the new meters can be read electronically from the road.

heard a report from Police Chief John Donnelly. Since the previous meeting, there have been 301 complaints, 23 misdemeanors, two felonies, 17 civil infractions, 10 city tickets and 44 accidents. The department is seeking a new technology grant to get computers running in the patrol cars. Winter Carnival went well with only minor incidents.

heard a downtown report from Mayor Pro Tem Robert Megowen. The third annual Yooper Luge will take place this Saturday.

approved bond refinancing for four loans – one from the Portage Lake District Library, one from the the Tax Increment Financing Authority and two from the water fund. The city will save about $200,000.