DNR has stake in old jail site

ESCANABA — Delta County and the city of Escanaba are not the only ones with an interest in what happens to the site of the current Delta County Jail — part of that property belongs to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The discovery was made by newly hired Assistant City Assessor Jim McNeil — who despite being officially hired Thursday, has been working for the city since Jan. 15.

McNeil identified a triangular shaped master parcel extending to the dead end of North 3rd Street at the western end of the Municipal Dock property. That property was conveyed by the DNR to the county through a public use deed on Sept. 3, 1963, but the DNR maintained a reversionary interest in the land.

The city has a similar interest in the jail site.

“It’s kind of muddy, because the parcel itself that the jail sits on, there is a piece of it — a triangle within that triangle — that has to be quick claimed back to us from the county because we gave it to them in 1963 to build the jail,” City Manager Patrick Jordan said during Thursday’s regular council meeting.

Officials intend to move the inmates at the jail to the new jail located at the Delta County Service Center in the spring. A developer showcase has been tentatively scheduled for sometime in March.

Because state-owned tax-reverted properties can be reverted to municipalities for public purposes under Public Act 451 of 1994, the council passed a resolution Thursday to authorize an application to the DNR for the release of the reversionary interest for a nominal fee set by the DNR. Under the resolution the city is requesting the property be released so it “can be utilized by the community and tourists as part of a place-making redevelopment project.”

The resolution also stated the city council would set up any necessary procedures and controls to provide for the distribution of funds arising from the subsequent sale of the property.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the council

– passed a resolution to waive penalties for the non-filing of property transfer affidavits. The city has never collected fines for property owners not filing these documents during property sales. The resolution is a formality for auditing purposes.

– approved a tree trimming contract with Bugle Contracting of Cornell, not to exceed $25,000.

– set a public hearing for Feb. 21 to consider designating 1601 Ludington St. an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District, also known as an “OPRA district.”

– held a public hearing on the condemnation and demolition of a residential home and shed located at 1608 N. 19th St. The home has been identified as a public nuisance and hazard, and the condemnation and demolition of the structure was approved unanimously by the council.