The old Johnson Store to be demolished.

Written by on February 5, 2019

The old Johnson Store goes first, the Bessemer City Council decided Monday. Despite mayor Adam Zak’s strong lobbying on behalf of knocking down a brownstone 107 W. Sellar St., the council voted 4-1 to name the store at 508 S. Moore St. and a house at 506 S. Mine St. on an application for state funds to pay for demolition. Bessemer may qualify for up to $50,000 in grant, but the brownstone will cost about $35,000 to tear down and the store building $30,000, leaving the option of one smaller structure to round up toward the grant limit. Loper said the Mine Street building will cost between $11,000 and $15,000 to raze. Both of the structures chosen are in relatively high traffic areas, and thus might be seen more favorably by those making the grant decisions. Loper also said she had received an inquiry from a party interested in buying the brownstone to rehab it and create a book store. The store would, however, require a change as the brownstone is zoned residential. She said she also investigated to learn whether the brownstone might have salvage value, but couldn’t get an immediate answer. Council member Terry Kryshak said he has raised the issue of reuse of the brownstone, which no longer is available. Engineer Kelly Heidbrier, who was at the meeting on another matter, said the building might qualify for government rehabilitation funds due to its historic nature. He said similar work has taken place in Calumet.
The idea of selling a property at 1807 Palms to a buyer interested in rehabbing it advanced, if slowly. The council agreed any purchaser should be given only a year to bring the structure up to standard. Loper said the city would hold meetings with engineers Tuesday and that a meeting with the Michigan Department of Transportation will be held Feb. 12. MDOT is rebuilding U.S. 2 through the community, and the water-sewer project is timed to coincide with this work. Loper said a proposed detour route to be used during the project will be presented at the next council meeting. Heidbrier said the hope is to establish the detour without adding another layer of construction work.

In other business, the council:

—Received a report on the pop-up shops being underwritten through the

Downtown Development Authority. The council was supportive of the effort to rehabilitate the city’s business district.

—Named council members Linda Nelson and Allen Archie to a committee to negotiate the next garbage collection program, which could include Bessemer getting back into city garbage collection.

—Reviewed a new schedule of fees for city services.
More in this weeks Wakefield News / Bessemer Pick and Axe.

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