HOUGHTON, Michigan (December 21, 2018) – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is celebrating the recent appropriation of $119.3 million and the creation of numerous new jobs by the outgoing Michigan State Legislature. The approved funds will leverage an additional $37 million of additional public and private investments, for a total of more than $156 million expected to flow into the region. The recently passed budget bill is one of the most economically impactful pieces of legislation for the U.P. in decades. Recipients range from a local foundry to institutions of higher learning and famed international attractions.
The appropriations will create 71 new direct jobs in Gogebic County, approximately one-third of the number lost with the recent closing of the Ojibwa Correctional Facility. In addition to these direct jobs, the region can anticipate many indirect jobs in areas such as construction, transportation, painting, and finishing resulting from funded improvements. Recipients of the appropriations include:
- Waupaca Foundry: The foundry will receive $1.2 million Business Development Performance grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to open a new production facility in Ironwood. The project is expected to generate total public-private investment of $4.3 million and create 61 new direct jobs.
- Department of Natural Resources: The DNR will receive funding to support 10 new full-time state jobs in the Ironwood area.
- Soo Locks: The state allocated $52 million for the US Army Corps of Engineers to design and start initial construction on a new lock that will allow large lake freighters to traverse between Lakes Superior and Huron. This is part of a $922 million federally approved project that could bring over one thousand jobs to the region over the next eight years.
- Michigan Technological University: Michigan Tech received construction authorization of $44.7 million toward a new H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex to support educational programs that apply engineering and science to health and other problems related to the human condition. The state will invest $29.7 million into this public-private partnership.
- Northern Michigan University: NMU received construction authorization of $28.6 million to rebuild its Jacobetti Center, which features more than 40 specialized laboratories and classrooms for education in skilled trades. The state will invest $20.1 million into this public-private partnership.
- Copper Peak & Pine Mountain: The famed ski jumps in Ironwood and Iron Mountain will invest $20 million to prepare the jumps for international competitions. The renovations of these facilities will create a synergy for competitions and provide for a year round, world class training facility at Copper Peak. The state will invest $10 million into this public-private partnership.
- Gogebic Community College: An allocation of $2 million will result in a $2.5 million build on the campus for a certificated skilled trades program, including welding, that will provide a talent pipeline to area businesses.
- Buffalo Reef: The state appropriated $3 million for the cleanup and removal of waste product that threatens lake trout and whitefish spawning off the coat of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior.
- Delta County Conservation District: An outlay of $1 million will support ongoing efforts to complete removal of the Escanaba River Bridge and clean up resulting debris and contamination, paving the way for new development by the township.
Marty Fittante, State Senator Tom Casperson’s chief of staff, worked closely with a number of local leaders, legislative partners, Governor Rick Snyder’s team, and institutional stakeholders on behalf of Senator Casperson to ensure these significant projects were included in this bill. Starting in January, he will take the reins as CEO of InvestUP, where he will continue to advocate for the region as he has in Lansing. Fittante is thrilled with the appropriations. He says, “I applaud these individuals and interests, especially Senator Casperson, for their tireless work and foresight in passing this critical legislation before the end of the year. These very different projects will have an enormous impact on the region and its people.”
Karyn Olsson, InvestUP