Paddlecraft on pause: Incomplete project draws ire

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette An empty space waits for the dock launch portion of the paddle craft landing on Rose Island.

ONTONAGON — The grant-funded paddle-craft landing on Rose Island remains incomplete, a state that drew objections from a few residents at Monday’s village council meeting.

“Not only was it not completed but it’s nothing more than a parking lot with a restroom overlooking a swamp,” said Bill Johnson.

Rose Island resident Tom Hamilton pointed to lack of maintenance on the restroom including a lack of toilet paper dispensers, hand sanitation and garbage cans in the facility. Hamilton has historically not been a fan of the paddle craft project but called for its completion.

“If you’re going to do something, finish the damn thing,” he said.

With a parking lot and bathroom, the dock launch is the crucial missing piece of the puzzle said Village Manager Joe Erickson. His efforts to reach the vendor have been unsuccessful so far, delaying the completion. He plans to continue to try to reach them.

In the meantime, the maintenance of the bathroom will be addressed, he said.

“We need to get that on the routine maintenance with our crew, someone checking every day.”

In other news, Denise Pestka was appointed to the Downtown Development Authority leaving one more opening for a village resident.

The council also voted to offer $300 to support the promotion of the upcoming July 20-22 CopperFest in the downtown. The move was made in lieu of a request from the Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association (UPTRA) for the same amount and purpose. The decision stemmed from a desire to focus on local level promotion and events.

UPTRA focuses more on a county and region wide approach making it not ideal for village investment, explained Village president Ken Waldrop.