City officials tour housing projects

MARQUETTE – Members of the Marquette City Commission got first-hand looks of recent local residential renovations during a recent Marquette Housing Commission tour.

Mayor Robert Niemi and commissioners Dave Campana and Mike Coyne visited the city’s two MHC properties, Pine Ridge Apartments and Superior Village.

The MHC is responsible for Marquette’s subsidized public housing, which is partially funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sharon Kivikko, MHC executive director, talked about various improvements at Pine Ridge Apartments, a nine-story building at 316 Pine St. built in 1968.

One of those was landscaping.

“Things were starting to get the tattered look,” Kivikko said.

However, the building’s interior has had many renovations as well, including new carpeting in the office area and new paint for the laundry rooms. There also have been improvements in the way of carpeting, paint and furniture for the ninth-floor viewing area, which affords a spectacular overview of the Lower Harbor and historic Ridge Street.

“Ideally, all of the floors will look this kind of neutral,” Kivikko said. “I’ve got some tenants making fun of me because the only color I ever pick is brown. I figure it will last forever, right?”

Both ends of the building are smoking areas, Kivikko said, but Pine Ridge is expected to be a completely non-smoking facility by 2016.

In addition, the outside patio is being replaced with new picnic tables, with a gazebo a possibility for the future, she said.

Kivikko said there is ample parking at Pine Ridge, but added “our bike population outnumbers our car population.”

Seating areas near the elevators are another nice touch made at Pine Ridge.

“We’ve made like a little seating area at every elevator so that tenants have a nice, comfortable place to sit as they’re waiting for the elevators,” Kivikko said.

She said another improvement in the works is replacing the apartments’ metal bifold doors with oak bifold doors while another project focuses on waste pipe replacement.

The mayor and the commissioners also visited Superior Village, townhomes built in 1973 and located at 125 Dobson Place.

New grills are being installed, Kivikko said, with new picnic tables added. New roofs were finished in 2013, she noted, a result of the bad hailstorm that hit part of the north side of the city the previous year.

At Superior Village is the Youth and Family Center, which MHC owns but is operated through the YMCA of Marquette County, Kivikko said. The center offers sewing projects, a computer lab, tutoring and afternoon meals among other things, and it manages a well-tended community garden where crops such as tomatoes, broccoli and beans are grown.

Niemi said of Superior Village: “The apartments are a lot nicer than a lot of the apartments we have in the community.”

Kivikko said tenants for both properties pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross income for rent and must recertify when their incomes change. There are no plans for more public housing in the city, she said, although there are waiting lists for Pine Ridge and Superior Village.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.