Hancock OKs lot sale

HANCOCK — The first of 13 vacant lots at Spruce Haven has sold.

The Hancock City Council approved a purchase agreement for Spruce Haven’s Lot 1 for $20,500 at its meeting Wednesday, down $500 from the initial asking price. The subdivision is located near the UP Health System — Portage hospital.

The city hired realtor Kristine Weidner to sell the parcels at its March 3 meeting. An offer has already been made on another of the parcels, City Manager Mary Babcock said at the meeting.

“It’s great to see some movement up in that subdivision, so we’re definitely looking forward to building up in that area,” she said.

While some homes had been built on the property immediately, most of it had sat vacant for the past six years, Babcock said.

Money from the sales will be placed into a separate fund. One possibility for the money is using it to develop another area of the city with water, sewer and roads, Babcock said.

Babcock also updated the council on a potential location for a city dog park. It would be just north of the Driving Park baseball fields, sharing a fence line and then going about 400 feet north.

“We have reached out to the residents of Hancock to find interested parties to help us with the planning with the park, and we got a great response,” Babcock said.

There are now eight people on the committee, which will be meeting 5:30 p.m. April 19 at the Four Seasons Chalet.

Babcock also reported on this year’s spring cleanup. Residents will be able to bring furniture, lumber and other debris to the Department of Public Works garage on Tomasi Drive from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 7-8.

The city will also have curbside pickup for leaves, grass clippings and small branches on May 10 and May 17. Items should be placed curbside by 7 a.m.

Leaves and grass clippings must be placed in biodegradable bags purchased from the City of Hancock. A roll of 10 bags can be purchased for $10 at City Hall. Small branches — under 4 inches wide — should be bundled with string to make handling easier.

Wednesday’s meeting was the first for the council since the state’s temporary authorization of virtual meetings expired at the end of March. Members may only attend remotely if they are involved in military service, have a medical condition, or reside in an area affected by a state of emergency or disaster.

Councilor John Haeussler encouraged the city to interpret the law as generously as possible to allow council or commission to participate in the way they feel comfortable.

Mayor Pro Tem Will Lytle attended virtually due to immunodeficiency. He has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and will return to in-person meetings after his second.

The meeting was still available to the public via Zoom. The city set up electronic equipment, including a monitor, to allow council members to see and hear Lytle and residents who spoke during public comment.

Sections of the public seating were also taped off to maintain distance. Aside from media, no residents attended in person.


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