$1M state grant for Calumet infrastructure awarded to village

CALUMET — A Jan. 25 press release from state Rep. Greg Markkanen’s office, referring to a grant award, contained some errors, according to Village Council President Dave Geisler.

Calumet will receive $1 million to enhance infrastructure in the township, the release stated, creating the incorrect impression Calumet Township was awarded the grant.

“The grant was awarded to the village of Calumet, not to the township,” Geisler said. “The 10 percent match is coming from the North Houghton County Sewer and Water Authority (NHCSWA), as well as the village of Calumet. It appears that the press release was not correct.”

The grant is through the Michigan Community Development Block Grant Program, and was awarded for funding the upcoming Elm Street project in the village.

Because the NHCSWA manages the water and sewer lines in the village, the township will provide most of the local matching money, Township Supervisor Paul Lehto said in a Tuesday interview. Geisler said as far as the village is concerned, the grant match is to be provided by the NHCSWA.

“Since the street’s going to be ripped up,” he said. “This is their opportunity to replace sewer lines, which would be much more expensive if they were to do it without this grant.”

The release also states that the Upper Peninsula has been affected by the “crippling weather conditions that have taken a toll on our infrastructure,” which Geisler said is also inaccurate.

The village first applied for the grant two years ago but was turned down, Geisler said. However, funds were available through another grant program, and the village qualified for the funding through that program.

“A few years ago, we had water lines freeze on Pine Street, and the state came through with a grant program,” he said. “Everybody had problems with water lines breaking. But the Elm Street project is not weather-related.”

UP Engineering, who is working with the village on the project, is handling the bidding process. Geisler said the bids scheduled to go out next month.