Houghton adding EV charging stations

HOUGHTON — More electric vehicle charging stations are coming to Houghton.

Two chargers are scheduled to be delivered by the end of next week, Houghton City Manager Eric Waara said during Wednesday’s City Council meeting. They will be located on the parking decks across from the City Center and the Ambassador.

Waara said the locations met several requirements: available electricity, defined parking and level ground.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy provided a $109,000 grant earlier this year. Having the chargers along a main trunkline was also a goal of EGLE’s, Waara said.

The Department of Public Works and Upper Peninsula Power Co. will each do some site preparation. The city is bidding out the electrical work.

One charging station is already in place on the east Lakeshore Drive parking deck behind the Douglass Agency. Future plans call for another two chargers, both on the Ambassador deck.

Waara also updated the council on the pier project. Lot 2 near the Portage Lake District Library will be used by MJO for about a month starting May 9. MJO will be installing storm sewers.

An alternative design is needed for the east end of the pier to avoid the AT&T cables crossing the Portage Canal. A dive team for AT&T found the location of the cables earlier this winter; the unmapped cables had forced construction delays.

“It’s going to cost some money for this alternative design,” Waara said. “It’s going to be the same end product, but we’re going to have to build it a little differently to go around those.”

The extra cost is still unknown. A contingency was built into the bid, Waara said.

The city is also working with U.P. Engineers & Architects to fix a recurring problem with the sidewalk on the lake side of Dee Stadium between the stadium and the National Park Service headquarters. Waara has also been looking at fundraising resources to address long-term waterfront issues stemming from wood piers.

“You look in front of Dee Stadium, there’s wood cribbing and wood piers — very stable, but for how long?” he said.

Houghton also received a Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) Match on Main grant for Keweenaw Coffee Works, which will be opening another location in Houghton.

Michigan Technological University research assistant professor Melanie Kueber Watkins also received an EGLE grant to update the watershed plan for Huron Creek, which was last done in 2009. The plan could lead to recommendations for more improvements, which could lead to funding for improving in the area. The city will also benefit from having a plan that takes into account the lessons from the Father’s Day Flood, Waara said.

In other action, the council:

— Approved up to $20,000 for a match for survey assistance related to a stormwater study grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

— Scheduled a joint meeting of the council, Planning Commission and Downtown Development Authority for 5:30 p.m. June 1. The meeting will include a report from the MTEC SmartZone and a discussion of the removal of the Lakeshore Drive parking deck and the site’s future.

— Rescheduled the June meeting dates to June 15 and June 29. The city budget must be passed by June 15, while Waara will be on vacation during the week of June 20, during which the council would normally hold its second June meeting.

— Approved up to $41,000 to buy new controllers for Dee Stadium. The current controllers date back to 1996. One had failed, leaving the city to operate the rink with only one this winter. The $41,000 bid includes contingency on top of the $39,700 quote.


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