Blight Might: Ontonagon empowers commission to look at issue

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Village President Ken Waldrop, left, addresses the Village Council at Monday’s meeting as Village Manager Joe Erickson looks on.

ONTONAGON — The Village Council formed a commission to deal with blight and discussed the Project Rising Tide initiative championed by Gov. Rick Snyder at its meeting on Monday.

The village appointed members to the Blight Commission, selecting five from the six applicants based on council member recommendations: Daniel Szymanski, Gunnard Kyllonen, Kim Langdon, Donna Nethery and Bob Hartle.

Of the five only Kyllonen had previously been involved in a public board. His initiative bringing blight issues to the attention of the council led to the creation of the commission.

Improving the appearance of the town and safety of its children were among the applicants’ reasons behind pursuing the positions on the commission.

The sixth candidate’s application was put on file, in case of future openings if he were still interested, Village President Ken Waldrop said.

The committee will look over the existing junk and blight ordinances passed last year. From there, the commission will develop an understanding of the situation and determine the process for citations and other steps.

Additionally, the commission will determine what falls under local or state rules for enforcement.

“There’s a lot of grey area, and we have to decipher that,” Waldrop said of the commission’s mission.

Attendees and council members also heard details on the village’s participation in Project Rising Tide from the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED).

The program provides resources and technical assistance to develop a region’s economy and was kicked off by a meeting with Snyder earlier this month.

The council unanimously voted to cancel the meeting on May 28, which is Memorial Day.

The next meeting will be on June 11. Since there will be a three-week period of no meetings any emergency issues would be dealt with in a special meeting, if necessary, said Village Manager Joe Erickson, although no issues are anticipated.

Further meetings regarding the Project Rising Tide program are likely for June, Erickson said.