Jun 27, 2023

Houghton approves match for potential Dee Stadium grant

Aug 28, 2023

The city of Houghton plans to apply for a grant that could provide as much as $2.5 million for improvements at Dee Stadium including a two-story addition on the west end with an elevator. (Daily Mining Gazette photo)


The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON — The city of Houghton will seek a grant for improvements at Dee Stadium.

The city council approved providing a match of up to $150,000 in cash or in-kind services for a Michigan Community Center grant. The grant could provide as much as $2.5 million for the project, which includes a two-story addition on the west end of Dee Stadium.

The construction would include a new entrance, an elevator providing access to the second-floor ballroom and additional meeting room space on the second floor. The entrance would also be styled to resemble the Amphidrome, the Dee Stadium predecessor that was destroyed in a fire. Parking areas would be reconfigured for better flow with the new entry.

The HVAC system in the ballroom would also be modernized to allow for year-round use. A dehumidification system would also be installed for the rink area, which City Manager Eric Waara said would improve the Dee’s energy efficiency and help keep the rink’s ice cool in the winter.

“Our master plans and capital improvement plans have listed adding an elevator to the Dee and renovating the entryway for many years,” Waara said. “This particular grant program represents the first real opportunity to make those improvements due to the amount of funds available under this program.”

The total cost of the project is estimated at $2 million to $2.5 million.

The council is tentatively planning a special meeting for Tuesday for a resolution with estimated costs, the exact grant amount the city is requesting and the proposed city match.

The council also approved seeking an appraisal for a half-acre of city-owned property adjacent to Raasio Homes’ office on Sharon Avenue. Raasio Homes wants to buy the land to build a pole barn and future lean-to for cold storage.

The parcel is one of several the city owns west of Cedar Bluff and south of Jacker Street. Acting on a recommendation from Waara, Raasio Homes’ proposal leaves space for a city right of way to the northern parcels rather than leaving the strip by Cedar Bluff landlocked.

If the city sells the parcel, it would be for the appraised value plus the cost of the appraisal and any legal or surveying fees.

In other action, the council:

¯ Heard an update from Waara on construction in the city. Sheet pile driving has begun for the repair project by the Lakeshore Center, where a concrete dock partially collapsed in 2021. Paving on sections of Gundlach Road and Razorback Drive is complete; projects next week include Isle Royale Street and Bridge Street. Lakeshore Drive project is on schedule for paving to be finished in late September; Waara still does not expect the road full-time after paving because concrete trucks will still need to get in and out for work on the Pewabic Street walkways. The KFC is scheduled to open next month and is prepping the driveways.

¯ Heard a report from Police Chief John Donnelly. In the past two weeks, the department recorded 89 calls for service, three misdemeanor arrests, five civil infractions, two city tickets, six accidents and 11 calls for health and safety. The department added Carter Croutch, who graduated from the police academy Friday. Sgt. Daron Kari, who worked as an evidence technician, is leaving the department after 25 years with the city.

¯ Approved the use of the Kestner Waterfront Park bandshell on Sept. 14 for a picnic Visit Keweenaw is throwing for the area’s hospitality employees.

¯ Approved $756,203.42 for Danielson Contracting for Phase 4 of the city’s water and sewer system improvements.

¯ Approved a Title Vi plan for Houghton Transit.

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