ISHPEMING, Mich. (WZMQ) – The long-awaited water and sewage infrastructure project in the City of Ishpeming is seeing some progress in solidifying the project’s funds. After almost 2 years of applying for grant funding, the City of Ishpeming’s water and sewage infrastructure project is deemed in the fundable range.
Pending approval from the state, the City will receive around $36 million to make significant progress underground. City Manager Craig Cugini commented that this process took a lot more than just signing a few papers.
“What we’re trying to make sure the community understands these are infrastructure improvements, Ishpeming is not the only one with problems. Ishpeming does have older problems than most communities because of the age of our town we’re 150 years old,” said Cugini. The manager notes that the grant funding program is also quite competitive, making it sometimes more difficult for smaller municipalities to make their case more valued. In September of this year, their score categorized by income, city age, and other demographics wasn’t in the fundable range.
“We had been arguing that our score was not correct,” continued Cugini. Later that month using a public comment period, comments from residents made their way to the state saying that the city’s points should be recounted.
“They reached out to the state and said hey this is really important to ishpeming all of us live in here need to know that our infrastructure is solid and not gonna break every year,” rallied Cugini.
“It’s an amazing investment into our town,” commented Dan Perkins. Perkins owns Dan Perkins Construction and explained that when he moved to Ishpeming 25 years ago, there was little development, but he always felt that Ishpeming had great potential. Now with the community rallying behind the long-awaited infrastructure project, he hopes for more progress in the near future.
“We are left as a poor town the mining is not what it was and we’ve got this environmental leftover, this is about environmental justice in very real terms let’s focus on getting this town the freshwater it needs,” continued Perkins.
“With the change of score on September 19th…they added that score in and reshuffled the deck and that reshuffling brought ishpeming into the fundable range,” said Cugini.
The City of Ishpeming is in the fundable range for this project but still needs documentation from the state that approves its infrastructure project. The State of Michigan can then award the funds so the city can start redeveloping the old water mains.