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Ishpeming Announces $20 Million Drinking Water Infrastructure Project

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Special City Council meeting held on October 25, 2023 discussed city’s 2024 budget including the funding news and additional updates

Ishpeming, Mich., October 26, 2023 – The City of Ishpeming yesterday announced a $20 million drinking water infrastructure project is moving forward. The State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Intended Use Plan for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund fiscal year 2024 has put Ishpeming into the fundable range for funding half of the project as a grant and half as a low-interest (2%) loan. 

“Our residents and business owners voiced their support to the state during the public comment period having a direct impact on the city scoring in the fundable range for this significant and very competitive funding which will improve our infrastructure,” said Ishpeming City Manager Craig Cugini. “The notice that went out statewide even called-out the volume of comments from our community in the State’s decision to score Ishpeming into fundable range for the project. We want to thank those who sent comments in and celebrate what can happen when we unite our voices.”

The project includes $9,896,800 in grant funding through the American Rescue Plan and a $9,893,400 loan from EGLE through federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) funding. Additional funding includes: $170,000 for Lead Service Line Costs, $86,700 for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) DWSRF LSLR Loan, and $83,300 for BIL DWSRF LSLR Principal Forgiveness (PF).  

The BIL LSLR funds must be used for lead service line replacement work and associated activities directly connected to the identification, planning, design and replacement of lead service lines. 

The proposed project should make meaningful progress on outstanding infrastructure needs, including the replacement of selected portions of the water distribution system which are deteriorated and undersized. These proposed improvements will impact the water quality by replacing water mains that have historically leaked causing interruptions to the water distribution system and potential water quality issues with water shutdowns and depressurizing the main line. Replacing these mains will remove approximately 39,000 feet of undersized galvanized water main, making the overall system more reliable.

As is standard in the City of Ishpeming, and to mitigate community impact, the City will require contractors to adhere to its “dig once” policy, allowing any other necessary underground work to be performed parallel to prevent cutting through pavement and dirt multiple times. “Dig once” benefits include long-term cost savings, efficient use of resources and reduced burden on residents near a work site. 

The next 4-6 months will determine the exact project scope, intended for drinking water infrastructure improvements. Professional engineers remain engaged to bring the conceptual scope in the grant application to a final design for submission to the State and final approval to proceed. Surveying of existing water lines to validate their condition, location and environmental assessment which must be incorporated into the final plans is part of the process. This also helps to inform which water lines within the city will be targeted through this funding. 

In September, Ishpeming announced $16 million in funding tied to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). 

Special City Council Meeting on Proposed 2024 Budget 

City Council had preliminary discussions about the proposed 2024 budget and requested city staff to bring creative solutions to the November 8 regular City Council meeting when the budget will again be discussed. 

The following budget highlights were shared:  

  • Public Improvement Fund will cover a $200,000 City Hall handicap ramp replacement, $100,000 alley and lot associated improvements, $110,000 in repairs to the Lodge roof and $10,000 for the addition of an ADA-compliant restroom at Al Quaal, and $300,000 is set aside to repair problem sections of roadways in the city. 
  • The City’s Water and Sewer Meter Replacement Project is ongoing for the installation of radio read meters that lead to more accurate billing, and both plans and funding are aligned to replace low manhole covers on Third St.
  • Motor Pool funding is confirmed for a new sidewalk snow plow, which is better suited for downtown. 

The Ishpeming City Council consists of five elected members. Regular city council meetings are held on the first Wednesday after the first Monday of each month at City Hall (100 E. Division Street, Ishpeming, MI 49849) beginning at 6:00 p.m. Meetings are streamed live on YouTube and broadcast live on Spectrum Channel 189.  


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