So long, oredock ... demolition to begin this month
Ashland commission grants necessary permits for demolition
By CHAD DALLY
The Ashland Planning Commission during a special meeting Thursday granted Canadian National, owner of the 1,986-foot dock, approval on both a site plan for the demolition and a right-of-way license dealing with a haul route.
"We do this with a heavy heart," Commission member Jane Smith said during the meeting. Rotting wood, and corroding steel and concrete, are all reasons why the dock — which ceased to be used in 1965 — must come down, and why some areas are even considered an imminent safety hazard. That's according to a structural inspection completed in 2006 and 2007 by Westbrook Associates.
Canadian National (CN) has hired Minnesota-based Veit & Company to manage the demolition, and the company will begin this month prepping the site, encapsulating what's left of the lead-based paint in a protective foam and disassembling the wooden trestle on shore. The entire project is expected to take 18 months.
The work will run in two concurrent phases to remove chutes, ties, remaining stair steps, concrete and other materials on the structure, which was built in two sections in 1916 and 1925.
All material on the oredock would be removed down to the concrete base, which city officials and many local residents hope still can be utilized for public recreational purposes.
The company does plan on placing steel plates over open spaces on the dock's base, as well as deflection shields for safety. Although no provisions for saving the base are written into the contract, Veit's project manager, Scott Lodico, said, "We certainly don't want to wreck it, either."
One local resident even suggested a safety concern behind leaving the base in place, as a nor'easter could impact the Ashland Marina and a nor'wester could impact the Clarkson dock to the east.
Commission member Kathy Allen also expressed concern during the meeting about the city's intake valve for its water supply even further to the east.
Veit's plan is to place what it calls a "turbidity curtain" on both sides of the dock as it moves from the end toward the shore during demolition. That would, ideally, catch dust, concrete and other material falling from the dock during the work.
When the work is complete, Veit will conduct post-demolition dredging to remove any material that has fallen into the lake — and requires a state Department of Natural Resources permit to do so. An environmental consultant contracted by Veit said during the meeting that, as they move that curtain along the dock, the companies "don't anticipate" recirculation of that material into the lake at large.
The work will obviously spur an increased amount of truck traffic, although Lodico could not estimate how many trucks because that could change from day to day or even week to week.
The planned haul route would be from U.S. Highway 2 onto either Seventh Avenue East or Ninth Avenue East north to Water St., and one of the avenues to return to the highway.
Lodico said the company is still in negotiations on who might get all the concrete from the dock, and the steel will likely go to the highest bidder.
Since none of those streets are designed for heavy hauling, and aren't in the greatest shape now, the trucks will no doubt have an impact. But the city, CN and Veit have yet to work out a cost-sharing agreement for road repairs after the demolition.
The hours of operation for the project are expected to be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with possible weekend work if needed. Work will also cease during holidays and festivals.
The work will also result in a detour of the city's waterfront trail, taking pedestrians up Ninth Avenue East to St. Claire Street over to Prentice Avenue. And it would likely have an impact on Kreher Park — although City Administrator Brian Knapp said the city could be surprised by the amount of "deconstruction tourism."
Several locals echoed Smith's comments that the city and state did all that could be done to save the dock. Jan Cameron said although no one in the city wants to hear the term "No-Dockers," at least the city, and local and state historical societies, tried.
"We've literally tried every single thing we could do," she said.
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stefjaeger wrote on May 15, 2009 12:31 PM:
drbiglow wrote on May 15, 2009 1:57 PM:
theoboley wrote on May 15, 2009 2:49 PM:
leilabee wrote on May 15, 2009 4:07 PM:
eric19602000 wrote on May 15, 2009 5:59 PM:
Then you may realize the pain the loss of the iron mines on the Gogebic Range has caused. The mines were reason the ore dock is there in the first place. "
blahblahblah wrote on May 15, 2009 8:03 PM:
mahnka07 wrote on May 16, 2009 6:41 AM:
lumberjack wrote on May 16, 2009 6:49 AM:
Good job ashland for stepping up. "
stosh wrote on May 16, 2009 9:16 AM:
just think ashland you could have your very own coney island,hot coffee,bait hotdogs or should i say dock dogs,get big ben out there,kids fishing contests,bike trail.
I could go on and on. its all about "VISION" "
ericjolen wrote on May 16, 2009 10:44 AM:
santowi wrote on May 16, 2009 2:38 PM:
jynxdog wrote on May 17, 2009 12:18 PM:
batman wrote on May 18, 2009 7:17 AM:
Jeff Douglas wrote on May 18, 2009 8:22 AM:
Leave the base in good condition.... wrote on May 18, 2009 10:25 AM:
Obviously, the city had no bargaining power then, and maybe not too much now.
How will the deck of the oredock be left?
It could be a real asset. It could be a liability. Other cities have docks with no railings. Up and down the coasts there are wonderful wharfs and docks, many higher from the water than this.
I don't know how the dock base would be left.
If the city agrees to take over ownership, will it be cleaned up? Smoothed out? Outfitted with railings?
Or will the railroad continue to own it and just put another gate across it to hamper people from getting onto it?
Do we have any leverage?
Can we get the governor's office involved?
Any political pressure beyond what Ashland has tried?
Nothing fancy. Just safety. With no trip hazards. "
PattyMcClellen wrote on May 18, 2009 12:51 PM:
JW wrote on May 18, 2009 2:11 PM:
Maybe it's sad da ore dock is going, but hey, tearin' it down will create some jobs fer da next 18 months. Maybe this'll help da local economy. "
theoboley wrote on May 18, 2009 4:29 PM:
HH&T's new building an eyesore??
If you say that then i ask you,
What exactly was JAMES RIVER after it shut down, and lay dormant for what, 10+ years?
Sounds to me like you'd rather have NO industry coming into an already ailing community just to "Beautify" it.
Well let me tell you something... People may stop and take pictures of family in front of the lake, yes, but most of them would pass on through without a thought.
HH&T are doing damn well in keeping the lake visible.
Looks a WHOLE LOT better than it did with james river laying dormant. "
BMertig wrote on May 18, 2009 5:57 PM:
darbie2 wrote on May 18, 2009 6:24 PM:
leaving it as it is? Sure somebody
could be stupid and get hurt
climbing on it right? Post signs
like now and if somebody is dumb
enough to climb it and fall off so be it.
I guess in a lawsuit happy world
you have to spend millions to remove
the chance of some Judge awarding millions? Seems all to be great stupidity if you ask me. Which of course you didn't..... "
santowi wrote on May 18, 2009 9:29 PM:
Obviously the James River plant was an eyesore, but my point was the auto dealer could have built inland instead of replacing one eyesore with another. Now some Japanese car dealer from Hurley will add a few jobs at the expense of the Von Holzen dealership and others. This sad shortsightedness will continue to keep Ashland another little hardscrabble northern town instead of a place people want to go. A bust town even in boom times. Depressing & eternally ailing. Pity. "
explorer36 wrote on May 19, 2009 10:22 AM:
I would like to see this done for a length of the dock. A breakwall may be important to help prevent downstream drift of lakeshore in the bay as well as additinoal ice and wave damage to other structures on the bay, as mentioned.The money will have to come from somewhere and I just don't see this council investing in the future of this town. Not judging just observations, my taxes are high enough, not sure what the right thing is here. "
Theoboley wrote on May 19, 2009 11:47 AM:
And for the record
"Now some Japanese car dealer from Hurley"
I wasn't aware that Hurley was in Japan? ;-) "
jennyb0613 wrote on May 19, 2009 12:52 PM:
to explorer wrote on May 19, 2009 1:53 PM:
who knows? "
to madmax wrote on May 19, 2009 1:54 PM:
beatles2artc wrote on May 19, 2009 2:43 PM:
masbach wrote on May 19, 2009 3:40 PM:
Having spent a lot of time on Water Street since I was a kid, it's amazing to note all the deterioration that's occurred on the dock in my lifetime--the buildings on the top have caved in, there's tons of vegetation growing along the pillars and even along the top rails, the chutes are falling off (at least three on the eastern side!). It's sad to see a piece of history vanish, but there just isn't any money out there for saving this kind of thing, it seems... "
Lotech1000 wrote on May 19, 2009 7:58 PM:
I grew up on the east side of the oredock in the 70's and 80's, and can still remember the impact of the ship "Belle River" knocking those three schutes off of the east side of the oredock. It wasn't cracking concrete, but a 1005' ore carrier that tried to speed up too soon, creating the vacuum that sucked the ship into the side of the dock.
Ashland, you've forgotten yourself. I now live in Ironwood, MI, and feel that I no longer know the very town I was born in. What is Ashland? An experiment in how to erase the past in order for everyone in it to life in huts, and a forest. What's next? US 2? Or maybe WI 13?
When we forget our past, we forget ourselves. "
santowi wrote on May 19, 2009 9:26 PM:
For HH&T, "Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean doing it is right."
Enjoy shopping for Hondas in Ashland. I'll do my shopping in Duluth.
And for the record,,
"The right to free speech does not include the right to be taken seriously."
-Hubert H. Humphrey "
Chris wrote on May 19, 2009 11:15 PM:
lomix wrote on May 20, 2009 10:38 AM:
Theoboley wrote on May 20, 2009 10:50 AM:
Why exactly isn't it right??? You've made your point pretty clear that you're an environmental activist, aka hippy, yet you've given no educated points as to why HH&T is so BAD for Ashland??
And FYI, I own a Toyota. This now makes it easier to have my car serviced.
Another point i'd like to make. I don't intend to have any of my points be taken seriously, I mostly come on here to give my two cents, and stir the figurative $hit.
explorer36 wrote on May 20, 2009 11:27 AM:
Just say no to cookie cutters wrote on May 20, 2009 11:48 AM:
Ashland is beginning to look like any other town.
That is the downside of ripping down historic buildings and replacing them with modern new, OR, tearing them down and and ironically spending say 6-8 million dollars on a new state of the art fire department that mimics and "LOOKS OLD" and quaint. Moral of story is you can not rebuild the kind of a building that we have in the Ellis fire station. It would be cost prohibitive.
For example, even if we rebuilt, Instead of solid buildings, we would rebuild with just face bricks. Not the same. Cookie cutter. We have the real thing.
Yes, I miss the landmarks, too.
In Europe, they value the old.
In Ashland, it is all to let a few developers make a buck. Tear down, build up, sell for a profit With the city's help and blessing and money. I remember when the Marine Club was added on to. And the motel. That developer ran the council. It is hard not to get excited when developers are so passionate about their new projects, and when they promise the moon. Their lobbying is acutely focused on getting a majority of councilpeople, and the mayor, and key city administrators behind them. There is a lot of pressure on just a few people. Often councillors are convinced that their actions are a good thing and they vote for new buildings instead of retrofitting the old ... Get on board...for change and destruction....I have to admit, I would be tempted at times, too. New can be very attractive......and exciting....
With city owned property though, it should be different.
Some of the decisions lately, have put our own city owned historical buildings in jeopardy.
Maybe the city should, (instead of citing their focus groups, and their committee meetings that no one from the public objected to, because no one attended), put these questions up for a vote in the general elections.
Do you want to vacate the Vaughn library building and move the library elsewhere?
Do you want to vacate the Ellis fire station and build elsewhere?
Do you want to build a state of the art fire station building large enough that it would house eventually house the city police?
I believe the results of that referendum would be a resounding "NO".
We have very few vestiges of the past, we have lost churches, hotels, and now the dock. City workers go to work in some of these wonderful historic buildings. I see no need to build anything new.
In a town with so much unemployment and underemployment, many would give their eye teeth to leave their homes in the morning and have a city job-with benefits- in any kind of building. To report to city hall, the Vaughn Library, or the Ellis fire hall would be an honor. "