Hancock City Council rejects Swedetown Creek grant
HANCOCK -- Efforts to conserve and preserve America's natural resources are being
blasted at both the federal and local levels. The cash-strapped State of Michigan has offered the City of Hancock
$333,000 under the Great Lakes
Coastal Restoration Grant for land acquisition at the Swedetown Creek Corridor, and at
the May 7 City Council meeting the offer was rejected.
This vote occurred despite pledges from the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) and
the Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT) to raise $83,000 in matching funds plus a
commitment of funds to handle additional appraisal and other related fees
connected with land acquisition for the city. The only responsibility of the city would be to process the paperwork under its letterhead.
|Picturesque Swedetown Creek flows along the
Maasto Hiihto Cross-Country Ski Trail in Hancock. The Keweenaw
Nordic Ski Club and the Keweenaw Land Trust recently raised
pledges to match a potential land acquisition grant to preserve
the Creek Corridor for habitat conservation and recreation. (March
13, 2003, photo © Michele Anderson)
"The city stands to acquire ownership of $333,000 of globally significant habitat
at no cost except for administrative functions," said Valorie Troesch, representing both the KNSC and the
KLT. "The full grant amount and $63,000 of the match are allocated toward the purchase price of the land. That amounts to a $396,000 value in land to the City (plus all other expenses paid for by KLT and
The grant application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
calls for creation of the Swedetown Creek Nature
Corridor, which would include about two and a half miles of land along the creek
and the surrounding gorge.
The creek and gorge enhance the beauty of the Maasto Hiihto trail system, a
multi-use recreational area currently on private land.
Councilors Lisa McKenzie and Mary Tuisku were the only Council members who voted for the grant.
"I am dismayed that the vote (5-2) rejected the acceptance of the grant," said McKenzie. "Believe me, Mary and I are frustrated at every turn that
important projects such as this become such work, not only for us, but for those who have done such a service to the community to spearhead such a
It will be critical for all Hancock residents interested in the preservation of this magnificent creek to attend the
Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, to request that the Council reconsider
its position on this one-time, exceptional offer from the State of Michigan.
Learn more about the author of this guest column, Merle Kindred.
Editor's Notes: For background on the grant proposal, see Dean
Woodbeck's January 2002 Letter to the Editor, "Trail users ask Hancock to reconsider Swedetown Creek proposal."
Read about the upcoming Keweenaw
Chain Drive Festival June 14-15, 2003, for bikers at both Maasto Hiihto and
the Michigan Tech Trails.
Visit the Keweenaw Now discussion forums to comment on this
|Note: Views expressed by our guest columnists are not necessarily the views of Keweenaw Now.
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