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Houghton seeks public participants for precharrette workshop

HOUGHTON — The City of Houghton is seeking members of the public to take part in a precharrette workshop taking place in June.

The four members of the public will join others from the City Council, Planning Commission and city administration in the two-day event, which will be held June 29-30 at the Dee Stadium ballroom.

The workshop will be facilitated by the National Charrette Institute and Michigan State University Extension. The workshop is intended to determine the goals of a future charrette or other participation process so the city can develop a request for proposals. The city is seeking the best way to involve the public in the revision of the city’s downtown plan.

To qualify, an applicant must be a resident of the downtown or the city at large, an employee of a downtown business, a downtown business owner, or a downtown property owner.

At a Planning Commission meeting last week, it selected Kristine Bradof, Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Bill Leder and City Manager Eric Waara as the three commission representatives, with Dan Liebau as an alternate.

In a letter to the Planning Commission, Houghton resident Norma Veurink said she did not think Waara should take part in the workshop, as he had “already led the city down a path its residents didn’t want.” The city spent more than a year in negotiations with The Veridea Group of Marquette for the potential development of a mixed-use facility on the site of the large parking deck on Lakeshore Drive. The deck is more than 40 years old, and has required a growing amount of maintenance.

Later in the meeting, Commissioner Mike Needham said it is important for Waara to be part of the process.

“It has nothing to do with decision-making,” he said. “It has nothing to do with what’s happened in the past. It has everything to do with being part of the process moving forward.”

Those interested in taking part in the workshop must submit an application to the city clerk by May 20. Applications are available at cityofhoughton.com.

The City Council will select the four public representatives at its May 26 meeting.

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