CALUMET - The village of Calumet and the Keweenaw National Historical Park may be closer to an agreement regarding the park taking over supervision of the Italian Hall Park after the board of trustees received a memorandum of understanding concerning the issue Tuesday.
At the regular meeting of the trustees, Jim Corless, KNHP superintendent, presented a draft of the memorandum, which includes a piece of property next to the Union Building on Fifth Street as well as the Italian Hall Park, and gave a brief overview of its provisions.
Corless said if the agreement is signed, it's important park officials have significant autonomy in operating the Italian Hall site.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
The village of Calumet board of trustees is considering a memorandum of understanding with the Keweenaw National Historical Park which would give KNHP officials supervision of the village’s Italian Hall Park.
"We like to be able to do our daily activities without conference with the village," he said.
However, if any significant changes or activities are planned, Corless said park staff would include village officials in the process.
For instance, Corless said if photographs or text explaining the situation about the Italian Hall tragedy and the 1913-14 miners' strike were to be placed at the site on the corner of Seventh and Elm streets, park staff would want to be able to do that on their own.
Even then, Corless said park staff would let village officials know what they were doing.
"We'd be letting you know of any planning with the park," he said.
Corless said that if artifacts are found during construction at the park, they would be made part of the park exhibit.
"The idea here is that those artifacts would be preserved for scientific review," he said.
However, Corless said there are no plans to do archaeological digs at the site.
"It would be unlikely we would do archaeology for the information," he said.
Village Trustee Joseph Mihal asked Corless who would own any artifacts found at the Italian Hall site, and Corless said traditionally, the park service wants to own any artifacts it finds at its own sites or sites it supervises.
"Our policy is that we do everything possible to acquire those artifacts," he said.
Sue Dana, village comptroller, asked Corless what would happen with any cash found at the site.
"They become part of the site and tell the story of the time they were deposited," he said.
If any money is found, anything with a face value of more than $20 would be given to the village, Corless said. However, any money found would probably have a market value greater than its face value because of its age.
If any money is found, Corless said he hopes village officials will agree it's important for the park.
"I would prefer it would remain part of the exhibit," he said.
Trustee Doug Harrer asked Corless what would happen if someone came forward saying items found during construction belonged to an ancestor, and Corless said legally it would belong to the village.
"It belongs to the property owner," Corless said.
The memorandum agreement concerning the Italian Hall Park and the property next to the Union Building was presented to the trustees for their consideration only, and no action was taken.
In other business, the trustees:
accepted a bid of $9,897 from Robert J. Johnson Contracting of Lake Linden for repair work on the Calumet Theatre building.
increased the various fees and contract amounts for their snow-removal service.
Kurt Hauglie can be reached at email@example.com