One positive step at a time

Michigan State Roundup

Published January 1, 2008  | January 2008 issue

Though news out of Michigan lately has not been particularly upbeat, some interesting initiatives have been announced across the Upper Peninsula to bolster local communities.

For example, two conservation organizations based in Marquette received a $100,000 grant to jump-start a biofuel heating project that uses low-quality wood—anything too small or too low in quality for lumber or paper pulp. The grant will provide technical assistance to parties interested in converting heating systems to this biofuel and for demonstrations of harvesting techniques to logging firms.

A number of small cities are also getting an economic spark, or trying to find one. St. Ignace, for example, will be getting a new $37 million hospital, thanks in large part to loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Munising, the city commission voted unanimously to grant a 12-year tax abatement to the Neenah Paper Co. to reportedly retain that county's largest employer and signal its business-friendly atmosphere to other companies. In Ishpeming, city officials are discussing the creation of neighborhood enterprise zones to offer city-based incentives for landowners to improve properties. And, finally, former Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci has proposed plans for a $23 million convention center in his hometown of Iron Mountain.

Ronald A. Wirtz