ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – Escanaba is one step closer to breathing new life into the site of the former county jail.
Friday morning, the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority approved a $700,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The grant will cover cleanup costs—including soil removal and possible vapor mitigation—after the jail is demolished.
Jarred Drown, owner of Gladstone’s Terrace Bay Hotel, owns the property. He plans to construct a four-story Hampton Inn overlooking Little Bay de Noc.
“We’re excited about it, not just for ourselves, but what it’s going to do for the downtown area,” said Drown. “[It will] bring a lot of tourists—100 tourists a day—to shop at the shops, eat in the restaurants, and just kind of experience the downtown and parks area that a lot of people don’t get to see.”
Much of the cost of the jail’s demolition is being funded by a state blight elimination grant.
“It looks like they’re going to cover up to half a million dollars, which should cover most of the asbestos remediation and actually tearing down the old building,” Drown said.
According to Drown, the timeline for the demolition is dependent on the completion of an ongoing Delta County Courthouse project.
“The courthouse is currently being operated using the boiler system in the jail, and that’s still running,” he said. “They’re building a new boiler house utility addition, and that’s not done yet. Hopefully that can get done early fall or late fall and, if it does, we can get in there and possibly tear down this fall.”
If the courthouse boiler project takes longer than anticipated, Drown says demolition would begin early in the spring.
On Friday, Drown told the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority that based on preliminary investigations, there is a “good chance” there will be a balance leftover from the $700,000 EGLE grant. If there are funds left over, the agreement may be able to be amended to include the Northshore Flats project at the former Chamber of Commerce site.