Council to choose design for Second-Third streets connector

ISHPEMING – Roundabout or S-curve? At its meeting Wednesday the Ishpeming City Council is expected to make a decision between the two designs for the project to connect the city’s Second and Third streets.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Ishpeming Senior Center.

The city plans to begin the project to connect Second Street to Third in 2016, around the same time that a $2 million Michigan Department of Transportation project will construct a roundabout on U.S. 41 at Second. Under MDOT’s plan, the northern terminus of Third Street will end in a cul-de-sac rather than connect to the highway, and the city aims to build a safe and convenient way for traffic to transition from Second Street south of the railroad pass to Third, its main artery downtown.

At its January meeting, the city council heard from Project Manager Steve Wright of OHM Advisors about the pros and cons of the two designs. OHM’s cost estimate for the S-curve – which Wright said would be slightly easier to maintain while not doing much to discourage speeding – is about $440,000. The roundabout – which according to Wright would be significantly safer but make such things as plowing more difficult – is the slightly more expensive option, at $490,000.

The council will also consider whether to authorize City Manager Mark Slown to discuss with Detroit-based law firm Miller Canfield the possibility of reducing the size of the city’s Tax Increment Financing district. Slown said Hematite Heights – the nascent development area on which Malton Road was built – is currently part of the TIF district, despite the state law defining TIFs stipulating that the district must be in a municipality’s downtown, or contiguously connected to its downtown.

Additionally, the council will consider a second change order to the Ishpeming Fire Hall structural improvement project, approve the final concept design for a new gateway sign welcoming visitors to Ishpeming and decide whether to repair or demolish a city-owned garage at First and Pearl streets that suffered structural damage from excess water after Hickey’s Bar burned down in November.