County land bank takes positive steps in demolition

The Marquette County Land Bank Authority recently received official award notification of a nearly $500,000 state grant to demolish several multi-unit residential structures and garages at K.I. Sawyer.

Marquette County Treasurer Anne Giroux said the money will fund removal of 15 buildings and 21 garages which have been vacant since the U.S. Air Force Base closed at K.I. Sawyer in 1995.

This is great news for the county and the community at K.I. Sawyer.

The grant funding was made available in Michigan through a 2012 Blight Elimination Program, which was the result of a lawsuit settlement with five of the country’s largest mortgage service providers.

A total of $97.2 million was allocated to Michigan, with $25 million directed to blight elimination. Of that money, $10 million was slated for blight projects in the city of Detroit, with the remaining $15 million distributed to demolition projects in communities across the state.

Marquette County was awarded $486,385 for the Sawyer project.

At its meeting this month, the land bank authority is expected to award the abatement contract and move toward the demolition, which is expected to be completed this summer.

The dilapidated structures at K.I. Sawyer were foreclosed on April 1 for non-payment of property taxes. Demolition is expected to take three to four months. The buildings -which have been targeted by vandals and are in advanced disrepair- are located along Warhawk, Raider, Stratofort and Panther streets, near the Sawyer Elementary School.

The demolition project is the latest effort by the land bank authority to renovate blighted properties across the county.

Since its creation in 2009, the authority has marked several successes, including demolition of a school in west Ishpeming and redevelopment of several housing units.

Congratulations to the land bank authority on another great venture.