Lake Bancroft clean up

ISHPEMING – The Ishpeming City Council unanimously approved a motion at its meeting Wednesday to apply for funds from the Marquette County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to assist city efforts to return Lake Bancroft to what Ishpeming City Manager Mark Slown called its “pristine, predevelopment state.”

“We would be asking for brownfield assessment money … to investigate further what could be done to improve the lake,” said Slown, who added the neighborhood around Lake Bancroft was once one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city, but has since been “lagging below its potential” due to the deterioration of the quality of the lake.

The authority’s purpose is to “facilitate the implementation of brownfield plans,” and to “educate the public and promote the benefits of the brownfield program … to encourage revitalization of environmentally distressed areas,” according to its website.

A brownfield is a property on which its reuse, redevelopment or expansion may be complicated by pollutants or other hazardous substances.

A draft of the city’s application to the authority, read to the council by Slown, said the city’s goal was to restore and improve Lake Bancroft water quality and near-shore conditions to a more natural and helpful state.

“If it is not possible to restore the lake … then at least it will substantially improve it to a condition as necessary to allow for safe swimming, fish habitation and other recreational activities,” Slown read. “Current conditions of the lake are unsafe for human use and do not allow for survival of fish and other native species.”

Slown added the application was in no way intended to disparage or reflect poorly on the efforts of the Lake Bancroft Committee, which he said is doing an excellent job raising money and working toward improvements at the lake. Slown said he expects any revitalization efforts that will take place at Lake Bancroft as a result of the brownfield application will be done hand-in-hand with those on the committee.

“This is just a follow-on to what the Lake Bancroft Committee has already done,” he said.

City Attorney David Savu said he thought Slown should include in the application the work the city has already done at the lake, including the fountains that we have installed to aerate the water, and to summarize what the committee has done “so that these folks know we’ve taken the bull by the horns and are doing our own independent work.”

Slown said the city’s application is scheduled to be reviewed at next Thursday’s authority meeting.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.