Enough to go around: Grant applications funded

CALUMET TOWNSHIP – The latest round of Heritage Grants was recently completed, and the applications were so good all available money was given away, according to Scott See.

The Heritage Grants are from the Keweenaw National Historical Park and the KNHP Advisory Commission, and See, who is Advisory Commission executive director, said all 21 applicants received money.

The National Park Service provided $25,000 for the grants this year, See said, and the Advisory Commission provided $100,000. The total awarded this year was $128,324.

“We ended up adding a little more to the budget,” he said. “This year, we were able to give at least some money to all the applicants.”

The evaluation panel, which consists of three Advisory Commission members and four park staff, were very impressed with the applications, See said.

“The applications were all of very high quality,” he said.

See said this is the first time since the Heritage Grant program started all applicants for the Heritage Grants received at least a portion of what was requested. Grant amounts ranged from $1,000 to $15,000. The total amount requested by applicants this year was $184,564. All grants require a one-to-one match.

The purpose of the Heritage Grant program is to give financial assistance to individuals and organizations working in some way to preserve the copper mining history of the Copper Country. The KNHP program began in 2008, and the Advisory Commission program started in 2010.

One of the grants in the program’s Resource Access/”Green” Solution project type went to the Adventure Mine Company to construct a solar powered pump to remove water from the mine so tours can take place.

Matt Portfleet, owner/operator of the Adventure Mine Company, said receiving the grant is going to be a great benefit for employees and those taking the tours.

Portfleet said the $8,500 grant will be used to install a solar-powered electric pump to remove water from the mine. The current pump is diesel powered and requires hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel each season. It also produces fumes, which occasionally blow into the mine.

Portfleet said the new electric pump will be slower than the diesel, but it can be submerged so it will remove more water. The water collects during the spring. It drains naturally, but very slowly.

He is in contact with vendors supplying solar-powered electric pumps, Portfleet said, and he hopes to have one installed for this season.

“The grant’s phenomenal,” he said. “(The electric pump) is a huge benefit for everything.”

See said the KNHP staff and the Advisory Commission members would like to have hundreds of thousands of dollars available for the Heritage Grants to be able to fund even more projects.

“There’s a huge amount of need throughout the Copper Country,” he said.