Houghton's parking deck is coming down, only question is when
Houghton City Council, July 29, 2021
(I was able to get a hard copy of the documents for this meeting, but they weren’t digitized. Normally, I believe City Clerk Ann Vollrath usually posts the already digitized version, but she was absent this week. Let me know if there’s anything you want to see. I don’t have a scanner, so digitizing them myself is a bit of a process that I don’t want to undertake unless it will be helpful for someone. Alternatively, you can request them from the city.)
During public comment, another update on the Verna Mize Triathlon was given to the board, including businesses who have signed on as promoters, changes in start times, and other new developments.
During the city manager’s report, Eric Waara updated the board on Department of Public Works projects and other ongoing and upcoming construction, redevelopment, and maintenance in the city. The city center will likely be listed on the real estate market soon.
Police Chief John Donnelly updated the council on the number of calls and crashes the department responded to, and ongoing talks to address the congested traffic crossing the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. The road over the bridge (and the bridge itself) is managed by the state of Michigan, but the water underneath is a federal waterway, which creates jurisdictional problems for both Hancock and Houghton when it comes to controlling traffic over and under the bridge.
There was some extensive discussion surrounding the decision to take the downtown parking deck down. While there was no timetable (or any other details) included with the decision, the council voted 6-1 to commence the planning to tear down the deck. Councilor Jan Cole voted against the decision after requesting two weeks to speak with constituents and hear from the public. Councilor Mike Needham said the public had plenty of chances to comment during the planning commission’s meetings, and that waiting wouldn’t change the decision.