KBIC building new gas station, store in L’Anse

L’ANSE – Work is under way on a new Keweenaw Bay Indian Community gas station and convenience store in L’Anse.

According to Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Housing Authority executive director Eddy Edwards, interior renovations have begun on a previously vacant building at 818 N. Main St. in L’Anse, and the authority hopes to have the station open in the summer. The authority will be investing about $350,000 on infrastructure, building purchase and renovation.

Edwards said the station will provide convenience to less-served tribal members in the eastern portion of KBIC lands, as well as adding about six new jobs, with profits earmarked to support long-term operations at a new Zeba Community Hall, also set to open in the summer.

“We’re really looking forward to providing benefits to the other side of the bay,” he said.

Construction of the 9,000 square-foot community hall will be funded with a $600,000 federal grant and $200,000 in matching tribal funds, Edwards said, but those funds can be used only for construction, not operations. The gas station profits will be used to pay for upkeep, basic operations and other long-term expenses.

“We don’t want to just build something without maintaining it,” he said. “It’s part of our sustainable approach to providing more services and programs for our membership.”