2017-02-16 / News

In St. Ignace, Plans for New Museum and Street Lamps Move Forward

By Jacob A. Ball

The St. Ignace Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will contribute $10,000 toward the renovation of the former Walker furniture building for the future home of Michilimackinac Historical Society and Fort de Buade Museum. The DDA pledged the money Friday, February 10.

The historical society has raised $1.4 million to finance the renovation and, with the support of the city, can now apply for a state assistance up to $400,000.

Representatives from the historical society were in attendance to discuss the request.

When asked about the fate of the funds in case the museum project does not come to fruition, Kathy Perry, treasurer for the society, responded, “We’re committed to redoing the building.”

In the situation that the entire building cannot be renovated at once, architect Rick Perry is creating a plan to transform the former furniture store into a museum in segments. The current Fort de Buade Museum, at 334 North State Street, is not suitable for the preservation of historical artifacts. The new space will ensure that the museum’s collection is protected from the elements and will also allow for expansion.

The DDA also discussed the benefits of paving the alley behind the building.

“The idea of paving behind there is going to help them a lot, it’s going to help the whole city a lot… because it’s going to beautify that area and make it more accessible,” DDA Director Deb Evashevski said.

Discussion also moved forward on the purchasing of new downtown street lamps. Earlier in the month, the DDA Light Committee recommended replacing the induction bulbs with LED lights and the fixtures to house them, but to keep existing posts, at an estimated cost of $100,000. The city will receive a rebate from Cloverland Electric Cooperative for conversion to LED and expects some electricity savings, also.

Mrs. Evashevski said new fixtures will give an updated look to the downtown.

The DDA would like new light fixtures to shine down toward the sidewalk and away from drivers’ eyes and store windows. Softer lighting will be chosen, and dark areas along State Street will be eliminated. Also the preferred design will avoid flat tops to keep birds from nesting on them. No decisions have been made yet on this project, but DDA board members requested additional information regarding styles, financing, and the fit of new fixtures on the existing poles. Robert Shaver Company of Grand Rapids is assisting the DDA in providing this information.

The St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce building will receive new LED light fixtures. The board agreed to an estimate from Rudyard Electric Services Inc. of $2,449 to replace existing fluorescent bulbs and fixtures with LEDs. Cloverland is offering a rebate of $5 per light to the city for this update. Mrs. Evashevski said that Rudyard Electric is currently filing the paperwork on behalf of the city, and Cloverland will pay the money directly to the city. The chamber currently has 34 light fixtures, 32 four-foot lights and two eight-foot lights, which will all be replaced. Rudyard Electric will communicate with the chamber on the type of lighting they would prefer. This project is scheduled to begin as soon as possible.

The sale of the Molly Moo’s Ice Cream building at 576 North State Street is moving forward as planned. Mrs. Evashevski said that she hopes to finalize the sale by the beginning of March at the latest.

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