Main Street and KEDA request community volunteers
CALUMET — Main Street Calumet and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) are currently into their second week of an annual project and are asking for community volunteers to donate time and labor.
The organizations are leading several work bees at Houghton County Land Bank Properties in Calumet this fall. These buildings have been lost to tax foreclosure and are in need of clean out and/or “buttoning up” to ready them for winter.
The long-term goal is to see that each of the buildings are brought back to life and returned to the tax rolls, said Main Street Calumet Executive Director Leah Polzien.
Main Street Calumet and KEDA have made rejuvenating Calumet a priority and over the past five years have worked to help update blight ordinances, established relationships with developers and organize grant opportunities with the State of Michigan. However, the road to a completely revitalized community is not a short one and one significant component that must be addressed is blight, she said.
While there are several private properties that need help, addressing those situations takes time, patience and sometimes a “carrot-and-stick” approach on behalf of the local government to remediate, said Polzien. To create immediate change, Main Street Calumet and KEDA are turning attention to those properties that are in public hands, and thus easily available for access and improvement.
“This is one way that community members can step up and help, said Polzien, who is a proponent of community involvement.
Over the past two years, at least four volunteer work events have been held in Calumet, contributing to the stabilization of the property at 425 Fifth Street.
“We have great people show up and at the end of the day,” she said, “the volunteers walk away really feeling like they’ve done something that makes a difference. We can’t thank the folks who show up enough, and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in these next few sessions!”
The October schedule includes:
— Oct. 5, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., 806 Pine Street: Work includes painting and installing window covers, installing vents, fixing the roof of the back entrance, securing basement entrance, cleaning up the backyard and finishing cleaning out the interior.
— Oct. 7, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., 511 5th Street: Work includes painting and installing window covers, installing vents, securing porch for back unit and cleaning up the side and backyards.
Anyone interested in volunteering for these dates, please contact Jeff Ratcliffe at email@example.com or call 989-350-1206.
For all projects wear work boots, work gloves and a hard hat if you’ve got one!
Anyone interested in purchasing a property owned by the Houghton County Landbank, please contact Houghton County Treasurer, Lisa Mattila at firstname.lastname@example.org.