Blight Battle continues in Bessemer
Written by Jesse Baroka on January 22, 2019
BESSEMER — The battle against blight in Bessemer may be joined by the State of Michigan. City manager Charly Loper told the city council Monday that the state has released one-time funds to help cities Bessemer’s size with demoliton of buildings.”We an apply for up to $50,000, which essentially lets us remove one big building and one small building,” she said. Loper said contractor Paul Luppino gave some thumbnail ideas of the cost of razing buildings at two locations — 107 W. Sellar, an old brownstone house and 508 S. Moore St., the old Johnson’s Store. The brownstone would cost about $35,000 to take down, while the store would cost about $30,000, Loper said.In addition, the city could take down a house at 506 S. Mine St., to the south of the Iron Belle Trail, Loper said. She estimated the cost at $11,000 to $15,000. The council agreed to have Loper write a grant application, but couldn’t agree on which big building to go after. Mayor Adam Zak strongly advocated for taking down the brownstone, which requires a contractor with the right equipment and good insurance, because it is bounded by other buildings. The Johnson building stands alone, and might be a candidate to be taken down by the fire department, but others on the council pointed out that it’s more of an eyesore. The council agreed to have the fire department determine whether it can use the Johnson building for a practice burn before making a final decision. A fourth house on the list, located at 1807 Palms, has a prospective buyer. The land upon which it sits is appraised at $1,080, but a motion to sell it for that amount died on a 2-2 tie with council member Terry Kryshak absent. The point of contention was whether to give the prospective buyer one year or two to either bring the building up to spec or tear it down. The matter was advanced to the agenda of the next meeting. In other action during the brief meeting, the council:—Agreed to set special meetings for a budget workshop and “brainstorming.”—Proposed a payment plan for a delinquent water bill relating to the structure at 190 W. Sellar St.—Agreed to change orders and a pay request relating to the current water and sewer project.—Learned that a detour for U.S. 2 traffic during the proposed 2021 reconstruction of the highway and the utilities beneath will need to be selected soon. While the plan is to keep at least one lane of U.S. 2 open during construction, a detour also is needed, Loper said. A route involving Iron Street appears most likely.
—Named Kryshak city representative to the Western Gateway Trail Authority Council, with Loper as alternate. The former representative, council member Rob Coleman, no longer is able to
serve with the committee due to its meeting schedule.
More in this weeks Wakefield News / Bessemer Pick and Axe