2013-05-09 / Front Page

Road commission buys land

New $100K site to be used as sand source

MANISTIQUE – The Schoolcraft County Road Commission has purchased two lots worth approximately $100,000 to use as sources for sand. The land purchase was approved during a recent meeting of the commission’s board.

According to Supervisor Craig Kelso, the commission purchased a site near the Valley Motel on U.S. 2, as well as the adjacent property. The site was purchased for the commission to develop a sand source.

“We currently use a site off of the Duck Inn Road by Michibay,” he said. “That site is depleting and has a short life, so we’ve been on a mission to continue to have a dedicated source for sand.”

According to Kelso, there has been some opposition to the site purchase, though the positive input has outweighed the negative.

“There was a zoning meeting to get clearance to develop it, and there was lot of good discussion,” he said. “A lot of folks understand the need to have a sand source.”

The sand pulled from the site will provide winter safety, Kelso added, serving as traction sand for motorists. The new site is strategically located to both residents and the road commission building on Tannery Road.

“Some residents are wanting us to be good neighbors and wanting us to not be too disruptive with noise, there is uncertainty with a lot of folks,” he said.

Kelso emphasized the commission will be doing what it can to keep the peace with its new neighbors. The commission has a proposed wetland mitigation program for the site, he added, which has appeased some residents.

 A wetland mitigation program is meant to serve as an enhancement, restoration, creation and/or preservation project that serves to offset unavoidable wetland impacts.

According to Kelso, the commission is working to secure an alternative route in and out of the new site.

“Currently, we use Walter’s Road off U.S. 2 and come out onto the highway,” he said.

The commission, he explained, would prefer to travel over railroad tracks and straight onto Tannery Road. While they are currently working to obtain permission from the railroad to create such a route, Kelso said if it comes down to the wire, they will continue to use Walter’s Road.

“We can do that, if need be, so we have time to develop and pursue the alternative,” he said.

Kelso said that although the road commission didn’t have a specific amount set aside for the purchase, they had kept the possibility open.

“We had been after it for a while, knowing that if the right parcel or place came up we would buy it,” he said. “We are always interested in a good pit and location to replenish pit inventory.”

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