Ontonagon in national ‘Complete Street’ Program

ONTONAGON — Extensive discussion took place dealing at last week’s Ontonagon Recreation Commission meeting about the village’s participation in the national Complete Street program.

The program promotes the concept of “complete streets” — streets for everyone that are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work.

This led to a discussion dealing with Houghton Street, which may require the removal of trees and repair or installation of new sidewalks on the west side of the street. The Recreation Commission is going to do an extensive plan on this project.

Other projects discussed were improvements to James K Paul Park, and the East Pier project.

Those projects would go with the Village’s Recreation Plan which the commission has been working on in advance of sending ideas, projects, issues, and recommendations to the Western UP Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) for a final plan.

At the January meeting of the Recreation Commission and Village Council, both agreed to send a letter to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) director requesting a speed limit of 25 mph for motorized use on the abandoned rail grade. That rail grade is a DNR-designated multi-use trail, and the speed limit would be in the village.

The speed limit would be for snowmobilers and off-road vehicles. It would be up to the DNR as to whether it would agree to establish a speed limit on this specific portion of the trail.

In January the Recreation Commission recommended the Village Council approve the capital improvement plan. A priority from the Recreation Commission is new ice-making equipment for the Recreation Building. The Village Council endorsed the plan with the priority for the new ice-making equipment.

A resolution is required for the DNR Passport Grant Application to dedicate matching funds of $25,000 for a grant to replace the ice-making equipment. The grant application was requested by the Ontonagon Hockey Association and recommended by the Recreation Commission.

With the absence of the commission’s previous chairman for the past couple meetings, the commission voted to have Jill Johnson as the new chairwoman and Sue Kempan as vice chairwoman.