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USDA Invests $347,000 in Upper Peninsula Communities
Michigan Ag Connection - 08/06/2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $347,500 to benefit six Upper Peninsula communities.

"These funds will have a significant and immediate impact in improving public safety and the quality of life for Upper Peninsula residents," said USDA Rural Development state director for Michigan Jason Allen. "Combined with projects announced earlier this week, it demonstrates the unprecedented commitment this administration has made to rural Michigan communities."

The Menominee County Road Commission will use an $11,900 grant to purchase a trailer-mounted hydro seeder. The county has had unusual flooding which has caused increased lake levels that result in increased runoff and soil erosion. The seeder requires one operator instead of a crew of 2-3, improving the efficiency of efforts to restore groundcover along busy roadways.

Bessemer Area School District will use a $32,700 grant to purchase a maintenance vehicle. The school does not currently have such a vehicle. It will be used for plowing, hauling, and transporting items to support the maintenance and operation of the school.

The district will use an additional $36,900 grant to purchase equipment for the Washington Elementary School. This includes playground equipment, bus and school handheld radios, a utility trailer and Chrome books. The current playground equipment is not ADA accessible and there is no means of communication currently between the busses and school. The school does not have any type of utility trailer to haul equipment or supplies between buildings.

Ironwood Area Schools of Gogebic County will use a $97,400 grant to help purchase two school buses and bus radios. The buses will be in addition to their existing fleet. The existing radio system is very outdated and has broken down in the past. The equipment includes UHF and 800 Mhz radios, charging and storage stations, a repeater and antenna. The radios will provide greater coverage, which is essential given the geographic extent of the district.

The Village of Calumet will use a $91,800 grant to purchase a front-wheel loader and snow removal equipment. This will replace a 2003-vintage loader that is undersized and wearing out. The loader will be used for general maintenance and snow removal. The current blower truck is more 40 years old and outdated. The new equipment will add versatility and efficiency to their current snow removal efforts by utilizing the front loader to haul, blow and push snow.

Gogebic County will use a $26,800 grant to purchase a pickup truck with snow plow. The county is currently paying a company to remove snow, which gets expensive with the amount of snowfall the county receives. With this vehicle, the county will be able to do their own plowing. The truck will also be used for grounds maintenance and cleanup rather than employee-owned vehicles.

The City of Caspian will use a $50,000 grant to purchase a patrol vehicle. This will replace an older fleet vehicle that has high mileage and recurring maintenance issues.


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