CALUMET – Main Street Calumet and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) are currently in their second week of an annual project and are asking community volunteers to donate time and manpower.
The organizations are running several working bees at Houghton County Land Bank Properties in Calumet this fall. These buildings have been lost due to tax seizure and need to be cleaned and / or “button” to prepare them for winter.
The long-term goal is to get each of the buildings to come back to life and return to the tax roll, said Main Street Calumet CEO Leah Polzien.
Main Street Calumet and KEDA have made the rejuvenation of Calumet a priority and, for the past five years, have worked to help update ordinances on the plague, build developer relationships and organize grant opportunities with the ‘State of Michigan. However, the road to a completely revitalized community is not short and an important element that needs to be addressed is the scourge, she said.
Although there are many private properties that need help, dealing with these situations takes time, patience and sometimes a “carrot and stick” approach on behalf of local government to address it, Polzien said. To create immediate change, Main Street Calumet and KEDA look to properties that are in the hands of the public, and therefore easily accessible for access and improvement.
“It’s a way for community members to step in and help,” said Polzien, who is a supporter of community participation.
In the past two years, at least four volunteer work events have been held at Calumet, helping stabilize the property at 425 Fifth Street.
“We have great people showing up and at the end of the day” she said, “The volunteers leave feeling like they’ve done something that makes a difference. We can’t thank enough people who show up and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in these upcoming sessions!
The October program includes:
– October 5, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 806 rue des Pins: the work includes painting and installing window coverings, installing vents, repairing the roof of the rear entrance, securing entering the basement, cleaning the backyard and finishing the interior cleaning.
– October 7, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., 511 5th Street: Work includes painting and installing window coverings, installing vents, securing the porch for the back unit and cleaning the yards side and rear.
Anyone interested in volunteering for these dates, please contact Jeff Ratcliffe at [email protected] or call 989-350-1206.
For all projects, wear work boots, work gloves and a helmet if you have one!
Anyone interested in purchasing a property owned by Houghton County Landbank, please contact Houghton County Treasurer Lisa Mattila at [email protected]