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Hancock considers construction projects in next several months

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock City Manager Mary Babcock discussed the proposed dog park the city is planning to build near the Hancock Driving Park during the recent council meeting. She also addressed various grants the city will be working with over the course of the year.

HANCOCK — The City Council held their meeting for May on Wednesday, dealing with everything from energy to the capital improvement plan.

Construction and improvement were the opening topics of discussion, as the city received a note from SEMCO Energy, informing the city and its residents that they will begin replacing gas lines in the next few months.

Continuing on the theme of construction and improvement, during Public Comment, Hancock resident John Zurcher mentioned that speeding between Gino’s Restaurant and Quincy Hill is a problem. Zurcher recommended that the city, “get the speed signs like you have up on top of Bridge Street that shows you your approximate speed.”

Zurcher’s second comment asked that the city repave between the old and new sections of the Hancock cemetery. Zurcher noted that he had brought this up the year before, and that he believes the city had set money aside for it, and that the money was still there for that purpose.

City Manager Mary Babcock added to the conversation during her administrative report, which included updates on the ongoing dog park project.

“We had our dog park meeting,” she said. “We are working on easement documentation with Dave Mattilla. We have four different committees working on this project. And some of them are working on the rules. Some of them are working on amenities.”

Councilor Whitney Warstler questioned if the dog park’s planned location would be an issue, given its close proximity to the baseball field.

Babcock responded by saying that a fence between the playground and the dog park is in the plans. She also noted that dog parks are by baseball fields in other places quite often. The city has not received concerns from anyone associated with the baseball field.

Babcock did note that the tentative location for the dog park currently “allows for great parking, and is close to the (Maasto Hiihto) trails.”

Moving on from the dog park, Babcock said the Downtown Development Association (DDA) discussed joining the Mainstreet Michigan Program.

“Currently, there’s only one city in the U.P., that being Sault Ste. Marie, that is fully invested in the Michigan Main Street community program,” she said. “And the DDA did recommend moving forward with this process.”

Babcock also said joining Mainstreet Michigan would open new grant opportunities such as entrepreneurial opportunities and downtown developments.

Hancock will have spring cleaning gatherings on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the CCW garage. The city hopes for a big turnout, given there was not a spring cleanup last year.

Other council discussion included the placement of the veteran banners currently on Campus Drive.

Councilor Rick Freeman Jr. asked if they were staying on Campus Drive, or if they were to be moved closer to downtown at a later time. Babock believed them to be too big to fit on the poles downtown, so Campus Drive may be the best place for them to stay.

“We’re hoping that’s going to kind of kind of become a corridor up there, especially with the Business and Technology Park and the school,” she said. “If we can find a different place to put them we gladly will if you have any suggestions, but the size of them is a little bit large.”

In new business, the council approved the resolution for MDOT to begin a small repaving project. The Portage Health Foundation Grant for the Hancock Campground Bathhouse ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) upgrades in the amount of $30,000 was also accepted. MDOT grants from the CARES Act were accepted. The sale of Spruce Haven Lot 13 to Taryn Mason was confirmed. The council approved RRC technical assistance for the capital improvement plan with the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region in the amount of $5000.00.

Babcock noted that the city is required to have a capital improvement plan on file, but currently does not. Babcock said the city had been working on it for four months.

“It’s a very large project in order to get our baseline plan done. Wester Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region has $2,500 that they’ll put towards this $5,000 to assist with that draft.”

The capital improvement plan will be a public document, and will improve transparency between the people and the direction the city is looking to take, Babcock said.

During closing public comments, the progress of the Hancock veteran’s park was questioned.

“I can address the Memorial Park,” Babcock said. “We’re really pushing to have it done for Memorial Day weekend. We will be having somebody come in and put sod down and the sprinkler system in.”

The Hancock CTE is expected to finish the monuments for the park soon. A water fountain is planned to be in the park as well.

The budget meeting that was to take place following the meeting was rescheduled for a later date.

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