Houghton OKs bridge deal

HOUGHTON – The Houghton City Council Wednesday approved a memorandum of understanding with Houghton County for locating one end of a temporary bridge along the East Houghton Waterfront Park.

The agreement came out of meetings the city had with the county, the National Guard, police, Department of Public Works and fire department ahead of exercise deployments of a temporary bridge.

The span between the Houghton waterfront and a bay by the Quincy Smelting Works was found to be the best spot for testing because of having the shortest distance and for qualities such as highway access.

“This is something the National Guard needs to come up here and actually perform exercises, because they’re looking at a full exercise deployment of a temporary bridge next year,” said City Manager Eric Waara.

There will also be smaller tabletop exercises this summer, Waara said.

The bridge is located in Sault Ste. Marie, but Waara said the Guard is looking at getting three additional sections from North Dakota to make it long enough to cross the canal.

The City of Houghton agreed not to permanently develop the 200-foot section of waterfront at the park until testing has been completed. In return, Houghton County agrees to restore the section of waterfront to as close to its original condition as possible once the bridge is taken down.

The agreement lasts until September 30, 2015, and can be dissolved by either party with 30 days notice.

In other action, the council:

approved a rental license for 912 College Ave. The house, zoned R-3, has a maximum occupancy of eight with six bedrooms.

heard a report from Department of Public Works Supervisor Mark Zenner.

He said crews had done a good job cleaning up after Friday’s onslaught of snow. He said the city’s cleaning policy for weekend storms is to hold off on widening the streets for a day or two, as it requires permission from the Department of Transportation.

Work crews have been cleaning up garbage on city streets exposed by melting snow. Sweeping will be next.

heard a report from Police Chief John Donnelly. Since the previous meeting, there had been 110 complaints, five misdemeanor arrests, 10 civil infractions and one city ticket. Officers are attending a variety of training sessions, including for registered sex offenders and death scenes.

heard a downtown report from consultant Susie Landers. A deal to purchase the Kirkish building could be finalized on Tuesday. The Marquette development company Veridea was also looking at office space. Planning is going on for the Welcome to Shelden party, which will piggyback with the Arts & Music Festival. Owners for the Yummy Bar have said the opening two weeks have exceeded even their highest expectations.

reappointed Dennis Garver to the Portage Lake District Library Board until a replacement can be found.

approved submitting information on portions of Century Way and Waterworks Drive to the state to obtain funds under Act 51.