MENOMINEE — The Menominee Finance Committee Wednesday discussed a potential grant through the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Transportation Economic Development Fund for road improvements on 3rd Avenue, from 1st Street to 3rd Street.

“It started with the conversation about the expansion of KK Integrated Logistics that they’re doing for Johnson Controls,” said City Manager Tony Graff. “Their entrance comes right to 3rd Avenue, so they requested that we improve that road so that traffic could come out of their property through 1st Street so they’re not going through the truck route.”

Graff said Nancy Douglas had set up a meeting with MDOT in December to see if their Category A or Category B program would fit the proposed improvement. “The MDOT person (she met with) said it wouldn’t meet Category A,” he said.

Graff said that, according to JCI, the expansion of KKIL would result in the creation of 60 jobs at the company during its first phase, adding on 10 or 15 more during the second. He said that JCI would encourage the use of 3rd Avenue by their employees.

“It’s mainly a maintenance grant to improve the road. That road has a lot of drainage problems, and we were looking at that road already for using the excess funds we got from MDOT last year to do improvements there,” he said.

According to the agenda prep form Graff gave to the committee, the cost of the project is $323,175. The grant in question is a 50/50 grant, meaning the project would cost the city $161,587.50 and MDOT would pay the other half.

“It’s very short; it only serves about two properties,” Mayor Jean Stegeman said, “There is some ponding there that happens. When we have an incredible rainstorm or spring thaw, there is some ponding there that goes all the way across the road.”

Committee member Bill Plemel said, “The thing is, with the tightness of the budget for this current year and the next one, can we afford $160,000?”

“The deadline is April 17,” said committee chairman Frank Pohlmann, “so if the City Council feels at some point, even if the grant is approved, we don’t have to do it.”

Graff said that this grant doesn’t have a penalty clause on it Unlike some grants that prevent an applicant from applying for the same grant again for a certain number of years should they turn it down, he said that there’s no obligation to take the grant and do the project if the city is approved.

The committee decided to send the matter to the council without a recommendation.