MASTER PLAN
Home Up Courthouse Library City Charter Planning Comm. DDA MASTER PLAN TIF PLAN/DISTRICT PUBLIC WORKS DEPT CITY CLERK POLICE DEPARTMENT AUDITS Meeting Minutes Freedom of Info Council Rules C. F. Township

 

Public Hearing held January 12, 2004.
Adopted by the Crystal Falls Planning Commission on January 12, 2004.
Adopted by the Crystal Falls City Council on February 9, 2004.
City of Crystal Falls Comprehensive Plan
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 OVERVIEW AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Community Description 1
2.0 POPULATION
2.1 Introduction 3
2.2 Population Trends 4
2.3 Age and Gender 5
2.4 Racial Composition 9
2.5 Household Characteristics 9
2.6 Population Projections 11
3.0 ECONOMIC BASE
3.1 Introduction 11
3.2 Area Economy 12
3.3 Civilian Labor Force Characteristics 13
3.4 Employment by Industry Group 15
3.5 Employment by Place of Work 17
3.6 Unemployment 18
3.7 Income 20
4.0 NATURAL FEATURES AND LAND USE
4.1 Natural Features 23
4.2 Land Use Patterns 24
4.3 Factors Affecting Land Use 24
4.4 Current Land Use Pattern 26
4.5 Contaminated Sites 27
4.5 City Boundaries 28
5.0 COMMUNITY FACILITIES AND SERVICES
5.1 Introduction 29
5.2 City Facilities and Services 29
5.3 Other Facilities and Services 35
6.0 HOUSING
6.1 Introduction 39
6.2 Housing Characteristics 40
6.3 Financial Characteristics 46
6.4 Home Heating Fuel 47
6.5 Building Permits 48
6.6 Public Housing Development 50
6.7 Housing Assistance programs 50
7.0 TRANSPORTATION
7.1 Introduction 51
7.2 Road System 51
7.3 Private Roads 52
7.4 National Functional Classification 53
7.5 Financing 54
7.6 Traffic Volume 55
7.7 Transportation Planning and Improvements 56
7.8 Public Transportation 57
7.9 Rail Service 57
7.10 Air Transportation 58
7.11 Non-motorized Transportation Facilities 58
8.0 FUTURE LAND USE
8.1 Introduction 59
8.2 Future Residential Development 59
8.3 Future Recreational Development 60
8.4 Other Land Use Recommendations 60
9.0 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
9.1 Introduction 60
9.2 Goals and Objectives

1.0 OVERVIEW AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

1.1 Introduction

This Comprehensive Plan represents the culmination of months of discussion

and study by the City of Crystal Falls Planning Commission. The plan can be

divided into two primary areas; background information, and goals and objectives,

which will guide the City's future development.

 

The first several chapters of the plan contain background information on

 population trends, the local economy, land use, and community facilities,

among other things. Such information is useful in forming a complete picture

of the City's growth and development over time, in other words, "where are we

now, and how did we get here?" In order to set the stage for future discussions

about goals, policies and strategies, each chapter contains a brief summary of issues

 and opportunities related to each subject area.

 

The last chapters of the plan are focused on the future of the City of Crystal Falls. 

These chapters attempt to address the question of "where do we want to go in the

future, and how can we achieve those goals?" The last chapters of this plan build on

the first ones, and provide a framework for guiding the City's future development.

 

Section 6 of the Municipal Planning Act, P.A. 285 of 1931 states that a planning

commission "shall make and adopt a master plan for the physical development of

the municipality, including any areas outside of its boundaries which, in the

commission's judgment, bear relation to the planning of the municipality." It also

provides authority for the commission to "amend, extend, or add to the plan." 

Section 7 of the Act states that the plan's general purpose is "guiding and

 accomplishing a coordinated, adjusted, and harmonious development of the

municipality and its environs which will, in accordance with present and future

needs, best promote health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity, and

 general welfare, as well as efficiency and economy in the process of development;

 including, among other things, adequate provision for traffic, the promotion of safety

from fire and other dangers, adequate provision for light and air, the promotion of the

healthful and convenient distribution of population, the promotion of good civic design

and arrangement, wise and efficient expenditure of public funds, and the adequate

provision of public utilities and other public requirements."  Thus, this plan provides

 guidance for the City's elected officials, boards and commissions, and staff to use when

making future decisions.  It is a "yardstick" against which proposed projects can be

evaluated. This plan serves as the basis for a relationship between elements of all other precepts and relevant efforts pertinent to best practices within this City,  and is a reference tool which can also serve to support other planning efforts, such as recreation planning, capital improvements planning, etc.

 

1.2 Community Description

The City of Crystal Falls was founded in the days of iron mining and timber exploration

in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Located in southeastern Iron County, Crystal Falls

occupies hilly terrain both east and west of the Paint River.  In the early 1880s,

Crystal Falls was one of the primary mining towns in the Upper Peninsula.

Solomon D. Hollister, a native of Sparta, Wisconsin, made his way to the 
Crystal Falls area in 1880.  He came associated with George Runkel 
(considered the founder of Crystal Falls), born in Germany, who also 
came to the area in 1880.  Together they discovered that there was 
much ore to be mined, and formed the Crystal Falls Iron Company.
In the spring of 1881, Hollister and Runkel were convinced they had
discovered a new iron range.  Runkel convinced the Chicago Northwestern 
Railroad to build a line to Crystal Falls, and the railroad was completed 
in June, 1882.  The location for the City of Crystal Falls had been 
selected due to its location between two mining exploration areas, as 
well as the availability of land to build the town on.  By the time the 
railroad was completed, there were six active mines in the area, and over 
42,000 tons of ore was shipped the first year.
Over 30 mines eventually operated in the area.  During the Panic of 1893,
 all but one of the mines, the Paint River Mine, shut down, but opened again
 when economic conditions improved.  By the early 1900s, the town was 
booming.  The community had been incorporated as a village in 1889, and 
as a city in 1899.  Growth continued until the 1940s, when most of the
 mines had shut down.  A few mines re-opened after World War II, but 
closed again when they could no longer compete with the large open pit
 mines and pelletized ore.  Once the mines had closed, the railroad 
into Crystal Falls was abandoned.  No active rail lines currently enter
 the City, although the Canadian National (Wisconsin Central) line from
 Sagola to Amasa runs nearby.
The business district continued to flourish until the 1960s, but like many 
other small communities has since seen the loss of many traditional downtown
 businesses.  Department stores have left the community, as have many smaller 
retail stores.
Recent development, including retail and service businesses, has taken 
place on the west edge of town, in Crystal Falls Township.  The post 
office, courthouse, city hall, Crystal Theater and Contemporary Center
 act as anchors to draw people into the downtown area, which still 
contains a mix of retail and service businesses.  While there are some
 vacant storefronts, the downtown has the advantage of being located on 
a main highway corridor.  Many communities must lure travelers off the
 highway to visit the downtown area.
The City of Crystal Falls offers many municipal services to its residents. 
 While municipal water and sewer are offered almost universally in all 
cities, Crystal Falls also offers cable television on a city-owned system, 
and generates electricity for its municipal system at a city-owned 
hydroelectric dam.  Both electricity and cable TV are distributed on a
 city-owned network of poles and lines.  An Industrial Park has recently 
been designated as a tax-free Renaissance Zone, providing incentives for 
industry to relocate or expand in the area.  The City is actively working 
to upgrade its infrastructure and market itself as an attractive location 
for new business, industry, and families, and through development of this 
plan will chart a course for future growth and development.  The city's 
strategic location at the intersection of U.S. 2, U.S. 141 and M-69 is an
 advantage for future development.
2.0	POPULATION
2.1	Introduction
Population change is the primary component in tracking a community's past 
growth and forecasting future population trends.  Population characteristics 
relate directly to a community's housing, education, recreation, health care, 
transportation, and future economic development needs.  The growth and 
characteristics of population in a community are subject to changes in 
prevailing economic conditions.
To fully understand the population issues of a community requires an analysis
 that includes surrounding areas because of the many ways in which communities 
are interrelated.  Examining trends and changes among communities and drawing
 comparisons and contrasts helps to paint a fuller demographic picture.  It is 
common for residents to work, shop, recreate and find essential services such 
as medical care in other communities.  

TABLE 2-1

1990-2000 Population Change, Iron County Jurisdictions

 

Unit of Government

Population

Population Change 1990-2000

1990

2000

Number

Percent

City of Crystal Falls

1,922

1,791

-131

-6.8

Bates Township

966

1,021

55

5.7

Crystal Falls Township

1,614

1,722

108

6.7

Hematite Township

366

352

-14

-4.0

Iron River Township

1,398

1,585

187

13.4

Mansfield Township

248

243

-5

-2.0

Mastodon Township

654

688

34

5.2

Stambaugh Township

1,224

1,248

24

1.9

City of Caspian

800

997

197

24.6

City of Gaastra

376

339

-37

-9.8

City of Iron River

2,095

1,929

-166

-7.9

City of Stambaugh

1,281

1,243

-38

-3.0

Iron County

13,175

13,138

-37

-0.3

1990 and 2000 population figures for

all Iron County jurisdictions are presented

in Table 2-1. The City of Crystal Falls

experienced a loss of 131 persons over the

 last decade, from 1,922 to 1,722 people.

This amounted to a decline of 6.8 percent,

 and continues a trend experienced over

much of the past 60 years, as shown below

in Table 2-2.

While the cities in Iron County generally

experienced a population decline during

 the 1990s, the townships surrounding

those cities increased in population. This

phenomenon was common throughout

the U.P. as well as elsewhere in Michigan,

with the incorporated communities losing

population to the neighboring townships.

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census 2000 SF-1 and 1990

Census SF-1, P1

TABLE 2-2

Population Change, 1940-2000

Year

Iron County

City of Crystal Falls

Population

% change

Population

% change

1940

20,243

--

--

--

1950

17,692

-12.6

2,316

--

1960

17,184

-2.9

2,203

-4.9

1970

13,813

-19.6

2,000

-9.2

1980

13,685

-0.9

1,965

-1.8

1990

13,175

-3.7

1,922

-2.2

2000

13,138

-0.3

1,791

-6.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the 60-year period from 1940 to 2000, Iron County experienced a population decline

of over one-third. The City of Crystal Falls experienced a similar decline during this time

period, losing over 22 percent of its population between 1950 and 2000. The two decades

where the most significant population loss occurred were the 1940s, with a 12.6 percent

decline, and the 1960s, when the population declined by nearly 20 percent. The drop in

 population in the 1940s was common in the Upper Peninsula, coinciding with the

economic downturn in the mining industry and the general trend of migration to urban

areas. In Iron County, the population decline in the 1960s is probably linked to the

closure of the last of the iron mines in the region.

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000 Census, Table DP-1; 1990 Census, SF-1;

University of Virginia Geospatial and Statistical Center, U.S. Census Historical Census

Data Browser; WUPPDR.

 After 1970, the population decline in Iron County slowed significantly, with a loss of

700 people since 1970. While this is more encouraging than continued sharp declines,

 the fact remains that the population continues to decline. Figure 2-1 compares the

 population trend in Iron County to neighboring counties in Michigan, as well as

Florence County, Wisconsin. All of the counties shown in Figure 2-1 experienced

population losses after 1940, but in some cases the trend was reversed in the 1970s

and the population is now increasing. Dickinson County, for example, has seen its

 population recover almost to 1940 levels. Statewide, the population increased in each

decade, although the growth rate during the 1980s was very small. This was a period

when Michigan as a whole was experiencing large job losses from what was then termed

 the "Rustbelt," as industries relocated to the nation’s "Sunbelt." Overall, during the

 60-year period presented in the comparison, Michigan’s population has increased

 by 89.1 percent.

2.3 Age and Gender

Median ages from the 2000 Census for selected units of government are

 shown in Table 2-3. Crystal Falls' median age has increased by 4.2

percent over the past decade to 45 years, significantly higher than the

state and national averages. Even though Crystal Falls' median age is

much higher than the state and the nation, the state and national medians

increased by a greater amount. Crystal Falls' population was already

almost 11 years older than the statewide median in 1990. Even at this

relatively high level, the City's population was still younger on average

than other areas in Iron County.

The Upper Peninsula in general tends to have a much older population

than Lower Michigan. This trend toward a higher median age is a clear

indication of the aging of the population. This aging population will in

turn affect the types of services local governments are expected to

provide, including recreational facilities, transportation, health care,

education, housing, etc. It is also related to declining school enrollment.

TABLE 2-3

Median Age, 1970-2000, Selected Areas

Unit of Government

1990

2000

Percent Change

City of Crystal Falls

43.2

45.0

4.2

Iron County

43.6

45.4

4.2

City of Iron River

48.6

46.6

-4.1

Crystal Falls Township

45.6

48.4

6.1

State of Michigan

32.6

35.5

7.9

United States

32.9

35.3

7.3

Dickinson County, Michigan

36.3

40.0

10.2

Florence County, Wisconsin

36.2

41.9

15.7

The increase in the median age is

due to several factors. The average

 life expectancy in the U.S. has

continued to the increase, with

 people living longer than ever

 before. Families also have fewer

children than previous generations,

 and more women are delaying

child-bearing until their 30s or

even 40s.

Analyzing the age structure of a

local population can aid in

decision making, and also provide some insight into future age structure. Table 2-4

shows Crystal Falls’, Iron County’s and the state’s population broken down into four

 broad categories: preschool age, school age, working age and retirement age.

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of the Population,

STF 1A, Table 1; 1970 Census of the Population, Table 33; 2000

Census of Population and Housing, Table DP-1

While there can be variations between these age groups (e.g., one individual may enter

the work force at 18, while another does not begin working until after college), these

groups give a general representation of the age structure of a community.

A change that has occurred almost universally across the country in recent decades is

a shift from the school age and working age population into the retired age group. The

 proportion of individuals in the preschool and school age groups continues to shrink,

contributing to enrollment declines in local schools. Meanwhile, as the so-called "baby

boomers" reach retirement age, a smaller proportion of the population is in the

workforce and contributing to pension funds, etc. that help support retirees.

The percentage of preschool-aged children in Crystal Falls is the same as the

proportion countywide, but is more than two full percentage points below the

statewide average. This low figure indicates a continued decline in the number of

young children entering local schools, and eventually the workforce. Those in the

5 to 19 age group, or school-aged, make up 20.4 percent of the City’s total population.

 The proportion in the County as a whole was lower, while statewide over 22 percent of

the population was in this age group.

The working age population is significantly lower than the state average for both

Crystal Falls and Iron County, but the difference is most striking in the City. Less than

 half the total population is in the working age group, compared to 58.7 percent

 statewide.

Residents aged 65 and above comprise over a quarter of the City and County population.

 With 28.7 percent of the 2000 population 65 or older, the City of Crystal Falls

retirement age population is over twice the proportion statewide (12.3 percent).

TABLE 2-4

Population by Age Groups, Selected Areas, 2000

 

Age

City of Crystal Falls

Iron County

State of Michigan

Total

Percent

 

 

Total

Percent

Total

Percent

Under 5

77

4.3

 

559

4.3

672,005

6.8

Subtotal

77

4.3

559

4.3

672,005

6.8

5 - 9

99

5.6

School Age

712

5.4

745,181

7.5

10 - 14

122

6.8

864

6.6

747,012

7.5

15 - 19

144

8.0

865

6.6

719,867

7.2

Subtotal

365

20.3

2,441

18.6

2,212,060

22.2

20 - 34

193

10.8

Working Age

1,618

12.3

2,006,010

20.2

35 - 44

261

14.6

1,877

14.3

1,598,373

16.1

45 - 54

221

12.3

1,861

14.2

1,367,939

13.7

55 - 64

160

8.9

1,469

11.2

863,039

8.7

Subtotal

835

46.6

6,825

51.9

5,835,361

58.7

65 - 74

198

11.1

Retirement Age

1,508

11.5

642,880

6.5

75 - 84

208

11.6

1,314

10.0

433,678

4.4

85 and older

108

6.0

491

3.7

142,460

1.4

Subtotal

514

28.7

3,313

25.2

1,219,018

12.3

TOTAL

1,791

100.0

 

 

13,138

100.0

9,938,444

100.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000, Table DP-1

 

Nationally, the proportion of working people compared to retirees is shrinking, and

with the preschool and school age groups decreasing, the trend can be expected to

 continue. On a national level, this is reflected in concerns about Social Security and

other programs, as the number of working Americans decreases in relationship to

retirees. Locally, the ability and/or willingness of working-age residents to support

 facilities and programs for retirees may decrease; retirees are often perceived as

being less willing to support school millages or youth programs.

TABLE 2-5

Gender by Age Group, City of Crystal Falls, 2002

Age Group

Male

Female

Total

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Under 5

41

53.2

36

46.8

77

4.3

5-14

119

53.8

102

46.2

221

12.3

15-24

111

52.9

99

47.1

210

11.7

25-34

63

49.6

64

50.4

127

7.1

35-44

127

48.7

134

51.3

261

14.6

45-54

118

53.4

103

46.6

221

12.3

55-64

75

53.1

85

46.9

160

8.9

65-74

93

47.0

105

53.0

198

11.1

75-84

63

30.3

145

69.7

208

11.6

85 and over

39

36.1

69

63.9

108

6.0

Total

849

47.4

942

52.6

1791

100.0

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000, Table DP-1

Age and gender composition of the City’s population in 2000 is presented in Table 2-5.

 As with the earlier information on the local population, this information helps to form

 a picture of the types of services which may be needed in a community. For example,

 Table 2-5 reiterates the information from Table 2-4 which shows that a higher than

average segment of the population is 65 and over. This table further shows, however,

that the majority of this older population is female. This may have an impact on the

 types of housing and other services needed by this segment of the population. The

general trend is for the younger age groups to have slightly more males than females,

reflecting the fact that more males are born than females. The higher life expectancy

of females, however, is the primary cause of the high proportion of females in the

 older age groups.

The smallest 10-year age group in the City is those people aged 25 to 34 years old in

 2000. By contrast, more than twice as many individuals ages 35 to 44 were living in

Crystal Falls in 2000. Rural communities in the U.P., as elsewhere in the country,

 often complain of losing their "best and brightest" young people after high school, a

phenomenon sometimes called "brain drain." The lack of jobs in rural communities is

often cited as a factor in communities being unable to retain local youth; however,

this factor may be exaggerated. It is not uncommon for young people to leave their

hometown even when jobs are available. What the relatively high proportion of

 residents ages 35 to 44 may show is something observed in other areas in the U.P.,

that is, the tendency of those raised in a local community to return later in life due to

 a desire to raise their families in the same sort of environment they grew up in. This

 trend has not been scientifically proven, but there is significant anecdotal evidence

 that this is often the reason for people returning to the Upper Peninsula.

2.4 Racial Composition

The racial composition of Crystal Falls is overwhelmingly white, a common

characteristic of the region. Non-white residents are mainly of American Indian

descent. Non-whites as a percentage of the population increased from 0.9 percent

 in 1990 to 2.0 percent in 2000. Persons of Hispanic origin do not figure in this total,

as they can be of any race. In 2000, 14 of the 22 people who reported that they were

Hispanic characterized themselves as white.

For the first time in the 2000 Census, respondents could identify themselves and

family members as being of two or more races. There is no direct comparison for

this figure in previous years, and it is probably safe to assume that some of those

who identified themselves as a member of a single minority group in 1990 are listed

in 2000 as being of two or more races. Also in 2000, separate categories were

 established for Asian and Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. For purposes of

comparison to previous years, these figures have been combined in Table 2-6.

TABLE 2-6

Population by Race, City of Crystal Falls, 1980-2000

 

Race

1990

2000

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

White

1,904

99.1

1,756

98.0

Black or African American

3

0.2

1

0.1

American Indian & Alaska Native

12

0.6

11

0.6

Asian & Pacific Islander

1

0.1

2

0.1

Other Race

2

0.1

7

0.4

Two or more races

NA

-

14

0.8

Hispanic (any race)

14

0.7

22

1.2

Total

1,922

100.0

1,791

100.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of the Population, STF 1A, Table

P006; 1980 Census of the Population, STF 1A, Table 007; Profile of General

Demographic Characteristics: 2000, Table DP-1

2.5 Household Characteristics

Evaluation of the changes in household characteristics in a community can often

provide valuable insights about population trends. Household relationships reflect

 changing social values, economic conditions, and demographic changes such as

increased life spans and the increasing mobility of our society. Table 2-7 and Figure

2-2 illustrate trends from 1990 to 2000.

A household is defined as all persons who occupy a housing unit, according to the

 Bureau of the Census. This can include one person living alone, a single family, two

or more families living together, or any groups of related or unrelated persons

sharing living quarters. Persons in institutional or group quarters at the time of the

Census are not included in households, but instead are counted as in group quarters.

 Examples of group quarters or institutions include prisons, jails, college dormitories,

 or nursing homes.

A family consists of a householder and one or more persons living in the same

 household who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. A non-family household

 can be one person living alone, or any combination of people not related by blood,

marriage, or adoption.

Total households within the City decreased by 2.6 percent between 1990 and 2000,

from 816 to 795. This decrease was less than the rate of loss of total population

however, which was 6.8 percent. This can be attributed to the drop in household

 size from 2.24 to 2.13 persons per household in 2000.

The number of family households decreased over the past decade, although family

households still make up nearly 60 percent of the total households in Crystal Falls.

The proportion of married-couple families decreased, while the proportion of male

or female householder with no spouse present increased. Non-family households

 increased from 1990 to 2000, with a slight increase in persons living alone. In 1990,

 283 of the 312 non-family households were one-person households. Of these, 205

were elderly persons (65 years and older) living alone, and 168 of these elderly

 households was a woman living alone. In 2000, 177 of the 293 one-person households

 was an elderly person, and 149 of them were women.

TABLE 2-7

Household Characteristics, City of Crystal Falls, 1990-2000

 

Household Type

1990

2000

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Family Households

504

61.8

471

59.2

Married-Couple Family

423

51.8

366

46.0

Female Householder

55

6.7

75

9.4

Male Householder

29

3.6

30

3.8

Non-Family Households

312

38.2

324

40.8

Householder 65 and over, living alone

205

25.1

177

22.3

Total Households

816

100.0

795

100.0

Average Household Size

2.24

2.13

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of the Population and Housing, STF 1A, P003, P016 and

 H017A; 1980 Census of the Population and Housing, STF 1, 003, 016, 035; Profile of General Demographic

Characteristics: 2000 Census, Table DP-1

 

It is somewhat surprising that the number of elderly householders living alone actually

 fell slightly over the past decade. Given the increase in the proportion of elderly

residents, the expectation was that elderly households would increase. One or more

of the following factors could account for this: both spouses are living to an older age,

resulting in fewer widows and

widowers, widowed elderly are living with adult children or other family members; or

they are living in group quarters. The group quarters population is not included in the

household statistics.

In 1990, there were 98 people in group quarters in Crystal Falls, and in 2000 there

were 97. According to the 1990 Census, 86 people were in institutions, and 12 were

in other types of group quarters. In 2000, 90 were in institutions and seven in other

group quarters.

2.6 Population Projections

Population projections are useful for community planning endeavors. For instance,

 demand for certain types of public services can be anticipated by using sound

population projections. Formulating projections is complicated and fraught with

unknowns such as unforeseen economic events that can greatly influence migration.

Other considerations, like fertility and mortality data, also have an impact.

In 1996, the Michigan Department of Management and Budget prepared baseline

projections to the year 2020 for all Michigan counties using a formula that includes

the three main components of population change: births, deaths and migration. The

30-year population forecast for Iron County anticipated a continued decrease in

population, and in fact over-estimated the decrease by 2000 compared to what the

Census actually showed. Continued decreases are forecasted based on the 1990

 Census figures. Since these projections have not been updated to reflect the 2000

 Census, and because the projections based on the 1990 Census proved inaccurate,

the most recent projections are not included in this plan. When these projections are

revised to reflect the 2000 Census, however, they may prove useful for planning

purposes.

3.0 ECONOMIC BASE

3.1 Introduction

Community growth and stability are directly linked to the local economic base. Two

 major sectors make up an economy: one that provides goods and services for markets

outside the community (basic or export sector) and one that provides goods and services

 for local consumption (non-basic sector). The economic health of a community is

closely linked to the creation and retention of local basic sector jobs. Factors affecting

 a local community’s economy can be local in nature, but can also extend well beyond

local boundaries. Statewide, national and even global trends can affect the economy in

communities like Crystal Falls. In this chapter, current information from the City of

 Crystal Falls, Iron County, and the state will be presented for analysis and comparison.

Much of the economic information presented is available only at the county level. Even

where information is available for a particular community, it is often difficult to separate

 a specific community from its neighbors, due to the willingness of residents to travel

 from one community to another for employment, education, and so on. A family living

in Crystal Falls Township, for example, may include one spouse working in Iron River,

while the other works in Crystal Falls. They may utilize churches and schools in the City,

and travel outside the county to shop or for entertainment.

3.2 Area Economy

The City of Crystal Falls was founded as a result of the discovery of iron ore in the area,

 and iron mining was a mainstay of the local economy for many years. As soon as the

 Chicago and Northwestern Railroad was extended to the community, ore was shipped

to steel mills in the lower Great Lakes region, helping to fuel growth in those areas as

well. Lumbering was also important to the local economy, with the large pine forests

of the area providing logs and lumber for the building of communities throughout the

Midwest. Fur trading was important in the early days of the area as well, with the forest,

lakes and rivers yielding fur to be shipped to outside markets in exchange for money or

goods.

As the iron mines began to close to an inability to compete with the large open pit

mines with pelletizing operations, the local economy began a shift to more of a service

 economy, and the local population began to decline. This was not an uncommon

experience in the rural Midwest, as heavy industry gave way to smaller industry and

suppliers to firms in more urban areas.

Table 3-1 shows the largest employers in Iron County. As can be seen from this table,

 the largest employers are generally in the service sector, with only two manufacturers

 among this group. This trend is not uncommon in rural areas where service

employment growth has often outpaced industrial growth, and where large

industrial employers have downsized, closed, or moved from the area. Nationally,

 manufacturing employment has been virtually stable for decades, a result of several

 factors. Automation has allowed manufacturers to produce goods more efficiently,

with fewer employees. At the same time, in order to compete in the global market,

many companies have moved part or all of their operations to overseas locations

where labor is less expensive and regulations are often less burdensome.

While there are few large employers in the Iron County area, many small and

mid-sized firms are located in the area. These firms cumulatively employ many

more people than the few larger employers, and help to diversify the local economic

base.

In addition to these employers in the County, local residents may be employed in

 neighboring counties in Michigan or Wisconsin, where several other large employers

and many small employers are located.

TABLE 3-1

Major Employers, Iron County

Employer

Location

Product

Employment

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls

Health care

298

West Iron County School District

Iron River

Education

160

Iron County Community Hospital

Iron River

Health care

150

Lake Shore, Inc.

Iron River

Naval equipment, cranes

130

Connor Sports Flooring

Amasa

Hardwood sports flooring

120

Angeli’s Central Market

Iron River

Grocery store

110

Iron River Care Center

Iron River

Health care

85

Forest Park School District

Crystal Falls

Education

80

Source: Telephone contacts with employers, 2003

Tourism is an industry that is becoming less seasonal in nature in recent years. Whereas

 tourism formerly occurred primarily in the summer months, skiing and snowmobiling

now draw increasing numbers of winter visitors to the Upper Peninsula. Fall color tours

 attract visitors during the fall, and in many areas gambling casinos have become a

year-round attraction. Some areas also capitalize on local history to attract tourists.

Crystal Falls contains several historic buildings, including the county courthouse and

city hall, and has a rich mining and lumbering history. Three golf courses in the area,

 along with the Ski Brule ski resort near Iron River lure visitors from outside the local

area as well.

Another change in the tourism industry has been the trend away from one long family

vacation in favor of shorter mini-vacations, often extended weekends. Recent national

events have also contributed to this trend, as some travelers are reluctant to fly and

prefer to stay closer to home. Heritage-tourism and eco-tourism have increased in

popularity. Heritage-tourism draws those interested in the historic and cultural

offerings of a community or institution. In the local area, the Iron County Heritage

Trail has been designated by the Michigan Department of Transportation as a Heritage

Route. This route allows tourists to visit a variety of attractions highlighting the history

of the local area. Eco-tourism has gained popularity among those wanting to experience

 nature through activities such as bird watching, hiking, and kayaking.

 

3.3 Civilian Labor Force Characteristics

Those persons 16 years and over, currently employed or currently seeking employment

(excluding persons in the armed forces) make up the civilian labor force. As the age

composition of a local population changes, changes occur in the nature of the labor

force. The labor force can also change seasonally, such as during the summer when

high school and college students become part of the work force, and seasonal businesses

 such as resorts expand their workforce. Knowledge of a community’s labor force is

helpful in understanding the local economy. It is useful to know what skills a local

labor force may have, how many people are employed or seeking employment, etc.,

 in order to provide this information to firms which may be interested in locating in or

 expanding in a community.

The decennial Census provides information about the City’s labor force. Although

this information becomes more outdated later in the decade, it still is the most readily

available characterization of the local labor force. In 1990, according to the Census,

47.9 percent of the City’s population 16 years of age and older was in the labor force

(labor force participation rate). In 2000 the labor force participation rate was 47.8 percent.

Iron County’s labor force participation rate was 47.9 percent in 1990 and 51.1 percent in

2000. Labor force participation rate at the state level was 64.1 percent in 1990 and 64.6 in

2000. The relatively low labor force participation rates in the City and County are in all

likelihood related to the age structure of the population as discussed in Chapter 2. The

 relatively older population, compared to the state as a whole, would include a higher

 percentage of retirees who are no longer in the labor force. Later in this chapter

 information on the source of local income will be analyzed, and this data would appear

 to support this assumption (see Table 3-8).

Comparative employment information and labor force comparisons by gender are

provided in Table 3-2. In 1990 the City’s labor force consisted of 55.0 percent males

and 45.0 percent females. By 2000, the labor force was nearly equally divided

between males and females, at 50.3 and 49.7 percent, respectively. The proportion of

employed and unemployed males and females, however, is not so evenly divided,

with women showing a lower unemployment rate than men. The increasing proportion

 of women in the labor force over the past 10 years is typical of most communities,

 where the labor force participation rate of women has increased significantly in

recent decades. The availability of child care, increased educational opportunities

for women, the need for two incomes to maintain a household in many cases, and a

relaxing of societal pressures for women to stay in the home have all contributed to

this trend.

It is important to remember in making comparisons between this information and

information presented later in this chapter on unemployment rates, that this labor

force information describes persons living in the jurisdiction being analyzed. These

 individuals may actually be employed in another community. Information presented

 later in this chapter and obtained from the State of Michigan Labor Market Information

office is based on actual employment in a county or region, and the persons holding

those jobs may not live in the county where they are employed.

Source: Telephone contacts with employers, 2003

Tourism is an industry that is becoming less seasonal in nature in recent years.

Whereas tourism formerly occurred primarily in the summer months, skiing and

 snowmobiling now draw increasing numbers of winter visitors to the Upper

Peninsula. Fall color tours attract visitors during the fall, and in many areas

 gambling casinos have become a year-round attraction. Some areas also capitalize

 on local history to attract tourists. Crystal Falls contains several historic buildings,

including the county courthouse and city hall, and has a rich mining and lumbering

history. Three golf courses in the area, along with the Ski Brule ski resort near Iron River

 lure visitors from outside the local area as well.

Another change in the tourism industry has been the trend away from one long

 family vacation in favor of shorter mini-vacations, often extended weekends. Recent

 national events have also contributed to this trend, as some travelers are reluctant to

 fly and prefer to stay closer to home. Heritage-tourism and eco-tourism have increased

 in popularity. Heritage-tourism draws those interested in the historic and cultural

 offerings of a community or institution. In the local area, the Iron County Heritage

Trail has been designated by the Michigan Department of Transportation as a Heritage

Route. This route allows tourists to visit a variety of attractions highlighting the

history of the local area. Eco-tourism has gained popularity among those wanting to

experience nature through activities such as bird watching, hiking, and kayaking.

 

TABLE 3-2

Employment Status of Civilian Labor Force, Selected Areas, 1990 and 2000

Characteristics

City of Crystal Falls

Iron County

Michigan

 

1990

 

2000

 

1990

 

2000

 

1990

 

2000

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

%

%

Civilian Labor Force

734

100.0

684

100.0

5,052

100.0

5,515

100.0

100.0

100.0

Female

330

45.0

340

49.7

2,177

43.1

2,601

47.2

45.5

46.8

Male

404

55.0

344

50.3

2,875

56.9

2,914

52.8

54.5

53.2

Employed

673

100.0

628

100.0

4,552

100.0

4,994

100.0

100.0

100.0

Female

312

46.4

323

51.4

1,999

43.9

2,477

49.6

45.8

47.0

Male

361

53.6

305

48.6

2,553

53.2

2,517

50.4

54.2

53.0

Unemployed

61

100.0

56

100.0

500

100.0

521

100.0

100.0

100.0

Female

18

29.5

17

30.4

178

35.6

124

23.8

42.6

44.3

Male

43

70.5

39

69.6

322

64.4

397

76.2

57.4

55.7

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of the Population and Housing, STF 3A, DP-3; 2000 STF-3,

 DP-3.

3.4 Employment by Industry Group

Employment information collected for the 2000 Census and categorized using the

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) manual is presented in Table 3-3. The use of

 this system classifies establishments by the type of industrial activity in which they

are engaged. The census information used is based on the answers local residents

provided, and so may not correspond exactly with the SIC codes used in reporting

 information to the Michigan Employment Agency. Furthermore, the Census information

represents Crystal Falls residents only, who may work outside the City; the data in Table

 3-3 is not indicative of the types of jobs provided in the City.

At the time of the 1990 Census, the sector employing the largest proportion of local

 residents was the service sector, at 39.8 percent. By 2000, that sector employed nearly

 half of the local labor force. Retail trade, the second-largest sector in 1990 at 15.5 percent,

 had fallen to 11.3 percent in 2000. Manufacturing dropped from 13.8 percent in 1990 to

 7.0 percent in 2000, while construction employment among local residents grew from

8.8 percent to 9.2 percent to take over the third ranking in 2000. This growth of

construction employment may be countered by the current economic downturn. The

 percentage of construction employment is significantly higher than the statewide

 average, as is the percentage of people employed in agriculture, forestry, fisheries

 and mining. Local manufacturing employment was much lower than statewide levels

 in 1990, and decreased at a greater rate between 1990 and 2000.

TABLE 3-3

Employment by Broad Economic Sector, Selected Areas, 1990 and 2000

Broad Economic Sector

City of Crystal Falls

Iron County

Michigan

1990

2000

1990

2000

1990

2000

No.

Percent

No.

Percent

Percent

Percent

Percent

Percent

Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Mining

18

2.7

12

1.9

4.4

4.3

2.0

1.1

Construction

59

8.8

58

9.2

10.3

7.5

4.9

6.0

Manufacturing

93

13.8

44

7.0

15.1

9.9

24.6

22.5

Transportation and utilities

25

3.7

43

6.9

4.1

6.6

5.5

6.2

Wholesale Trade

21

3.1

11

1.8

2.3

2.6

4.0

3.3

Retail Trade

104

15.5

71

11.3

20.2

12.8

18.0

11.9

Finance, Insurance & Real Estate

39

5.8

33

5.3

3.6

4.3

5.4

5.3

Service

268

39.8

298

47.5

33.5

45.2

31.8

40.1

Public Administration

46

6.8

58

9.2

6.5

6.8

3.7

3.6

Total

673

100.0

628

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000, DP-3

A comparison of wages derived from manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and

the service sector for all Upper Peninsula counties is presented in Table 3-4. It is

 noteworthy that the three south-central counties of Delta, Dickinson and Menominee

generated 61.5 percent of all the Upper Peninsula’s manufacturing wages in 1999. The

 percentage of wages derived from manufacturing in Iron County was higher than

many counties, but the actual manufacturing wages in 1990 were among the lowest in

the U.P. The percentage of wages derived from wholesale and retail trade, on the other

hand, was higher than any other U.P. county, while service-sector total wages were

 about average in proportion. What this example serves to illustrate is the desirability

of manufacturing jobs. While only accounting for 9.9 percent of Iron County’s

employment in 2000, manufacturing jobs generated 19.8 percent of the county’s

wages in 1999. Conversely, the service sector, with 45.2 percent of employment in

 2000, generated 28.4 percent of wages in 1999. While wages in the service sector

 have increased in recent years, and probably will continue to do so as the labor force

shrinks and demand for services such as health care increases, it is clear that these jobs

do not generate the income levels of manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing jobs, however,

 are more difficult to attract and retain, as companies downsize and move operations

out of the U.S. to take advantage of cost savings.

 

 

TABLE 3-4

Manufacturing, Wholesale and Retail Trade Wages, Upper Peninsula Counties, 1999

 

County

Total Manufacturing Wages

Percent of Total County Wages

Manufacturing

Wholesale & Retail Trade

Services

Alger

$30,324,983

55.6

12.0

14.5

Baraga

$26,498,786

44.8

10.3

29.7

Chippewa

$20,742,161

10.6

21.2

47.2

Delta

$136,410,965

42.0

16.8

22.5

Dickinson

$108,340,843

36.8

20.0

16.1

Gogebic

$18,452,828

19.7

22.4

42.0

Houghton

$32,765,144

17.1

21.5

32.4

Iron

$10,923,220

19.8

25.7

28.4

Keweenaw

$973,204

13.8

13.5*

61.8

Luce

$7,266,557

30.5

34.5

11.7

Mackinac

$2,710,985

3.4

26.8

44.5

Marquette

$27,310,979

5.1

17.0

37.4

Menominee

$85,934,604

47.2

15.7

20.4

Ontonagon

$17,342,190

43.5

17.0

14.4

Schoolcraft

$11,747,585

24.9

19.3

18.3

 

* Retail trade only; wholesale trade figures not available.

Source: Michigan Covered Employment Statistics, Private (ES-202), Michigan Labor Market

Information, 1999 Annual Data

3.5 Employment by Place of Work

In 1990, according to the Census, about 84 percent of Crystal Falls’s working population

was employed in Iron County; in 2000 the proportion employed in the County remained

 nearly identical. The proportion of local residents who worked outside of Michigan

more than doubled, although the number remained small. While most of those who

worked outside of Michigan probably commute to Wisconsin, more detailed Census

information available at the County level shows Iron County residents working in

Colorado, Indiana, and the Chicago area. It is interesting to note that just over half of

he employed Crystal Falls residents worked in the City. 199 local residents found

 employment in Iron County, but outside of Crystal Falls. This information is

summarized in Table 3-5.

The workplace is changing as technology changes, with workers having more mobility

 than ever before as a result of technology. While many businesses will always

require employees in an office or retail location to serve customers, and industries

will require workers on site to manufacture goods, for example, more and more

employees can work from a satellite location or even from their home. Laptop and

ablet computers, cell phones, pagers, fax machines, and video conferencing are among

the technologies that make this flexibility possible. Individuals in such positions will

find that they can live where they choose, needing only Internet access, reliable

telephone service, and perhaps quick access to an airport if frequent travel is required.

 For rural areas such as Crystal Falls, these residents can contribute to the local economy,

 send children to local schools, etc., while working for an employer whose office may

be on the other side of the country. It also means that Crystal Falls must compete against

 other communities to attract such individuals to Crystal Falls rather than another

location.

TABLE 3-5

Residents Aged 16 or Older by Place of Work, City of Crystal Falls, 1990 & 2000

 

Characteristics

1990

2000

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Total City Residents Employed

666*

100.0

618*

100.0

Worked in Michigan

659

98.9

603

97.6

Worked in Iron County

559

83.9

519

84.0

Worked in City of Crystal Falls

NA

--

320

51.8

Worked outside Iron County

100

15.0

84

13.6

Worked outside of Michigan

7

1.1

15

2.4

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990, STF 3A, P045, P048; 2000 DP-3, P045, P048.

* Totals do not match those in Table 3-2, probably due to sampling error

3.6 Unemployment

County unemployment and labor force data are collected and analyzed by the Michigan

 Employment Security Agency, formerly known as the Michigan Employment Security

Commission (MESC). Actual unemployment information is reported by county, and

rounded to the nearest 25. Comparative data are presented in Table 3-6 and Figure 3-1.

Iron County has generally recorded higher unemployment rates than the rest of the

Upper Peninsula, which in turn are higher than statewide and national unemployment

 rates. However, in recent years the gap between the county unemployment rate and

averages in wider areas has decreased.

The size of the labor force and the proportion of unemployed persons are of course

related to economic conditions. While unemployment rates in recent years have been

 among the lowest ever, it appears unemployment is increasing. The labor force,

 meanwhile, has shrunk to its lowest level since 1991. A shrinking labor force can lower

unemployment rates by removing persons from the labor force, and can be an indication

 that residents have exhausted their unemployment benefits, have moved to other areas

to seek work, or have given up the job search.

TABLE 3-6

Labor Force and Unemployment, 1970-1999

 

 

 

Iron County Labor Force

Unemployment Rates by Percent

Employed

Unemployed

Total Labor Force

Iron County

Upper Peninsula

State of Michigan

United States

1970

4,325

675

5,000

13.5

9.3

7.0

4.9

1975

5,650

775

*6,450

12.1

12.3

12.5

8.5

1980

5,400

725

6,125

11.8

12.2

12.4

7.1

1985

5,025

875

5,900

15.0

15.1

9.9

7.2

1990

4,800

475

5,275

9.1

9.2

7.5

5.3

1991

4,750

600

5,350

11.3

10.7

9.2

6.7

1992

4,875

625

5,500

11.4

11.0

8.8

7.4

1993

5,025

575

5,600

10.2

8.7

7.0

6.8

1994

5,000

625

5,625

10.9

8.7

5.9

6.1

1995

5,000

525

5,525

9.5

8.9

5.3

5.6

1996

5,125

475

5,600

8.4

7.9

4.9

5.4

1997

5,250

425

5,675

7.3

7.3

4.2

5.0

1998

5,225

350

*5,600

6.4

6.5

3.9

4.5

1999

5,250

375

*5,650

6.8

6.3

3.8

4.2

2000

5,125

350

*5,450

6.4

5.8

3.6

4.0

2001

5,100

350

*5,475

6.4

6.8

5.3

4.8

2002

5,000

350

5,350

6.7

7.3

6.2

5.8

Source: Michigan Employment Security Agency for years cited

*indicates that employed and unemployed as published differ from total labor force by 25

 

3.7 Income

An analysis of local income trends and sources of income is helpful in understanding

 the local economy. This information can give an idea how much disposable income is

available in the local population, the ability and willingness to pay for services, and

provides a point of comparison between the local area and statewide trends.

The U.S. Census gathers information on income on the so-called "long form," and

compiles that information in several different ways. Per capita income is calculated

 by dividing the total aggregate income for all persons in an area by the number of

 persons in that area. Family income is the total income for all members of a family

 household; family households exclude one-person households and households whose

members are not related through blood, marriage or adoption. Household income

 includes all types of households, both family and non-family.

Historical Census information present income information based on that year’s dollar

values. When comparing income across the decades, this can be somewhat misleading,

as the increases in income can seem fairly large. To adjust for this, the Census Bureau

 calculates an inflation factor which can be used to adjust for the effect of inflation over

the 10-year period between censuses. Adjusting incomes for inflation gives a more

accurate picture of whether or not buying power or disposable income actually

increased, and whether residents’ financial condition improved. For example, many

 communities in Michigan saw significant increases in income between the 1980 and

1990 census years. When inflation was taken into account, however, it could be seen

 that actual incomes dropped in many cases. This meant that in those areas, people

actually had less money to spend when the increased cost of goods and services was

 taken into account. Between 1990 and 2000, most areas saw actual increases in incomes

after inflation, reflecting the general economic prosperity of the late 1990s. Table 3-7

depicts the income trends for several local units in Iron County, along with statewide

averages.

 

TABLE 3-7

Income Levels, Selected Areas, 1989-1999

 

 

1989 Actual Income

Income Adjusted for Inflation

Percent of State

1999 Actual Income

Percent of State

Percent Change 1989-1999 (adjusted)

Per Capita Income

City of Crystal Falls

$9,694

$12,385

68.5

$14,538

65.6

17.4

Crystal Falls Township

$9,388

$11,994

66.3

$18,213

82.2

51.9

City of Iron River

$8,004

$10,226

56.5

$15,728

70.9

53.8

Iron County

$9,077

$11,597

64.1

$16,506

74.5

42.3

State of Michigan

$14,154

$18,084

100.0

$22,168

100.0

22.6

Florence County

 

10,352

 

13,226

 

78.0

 

18,328

 

86.2

 

38.6

Median Household Income

City of Crystal Falls

$17,885

$22,850

57.7

$26,637

59.6

16.6

Crystal Falls Township

$18,670

$23,854

60.2

$34,688

77.7

45.6

City of Iron River

$12,290

$15,702

39.6

$23,438

52.5

49.3

Iron County

$16,307

$20,834

52.6

$28,560

63.9

37.1

State of Michigan

$31,020

$39,632

100.0

$44,667

100.0

12.7

 

Florence County

 

22,416

 

28,640

 

76.1

 

34,750

 

79.4

 

21.3

Median Family Income

City of Crystal Falls

$24,395

$31,167

66.6

$35,000

65.5

12.3

Crystal Falls Township

$23,875

$30,504

65.1

$41,600

77.8

36.4

City of Iron River

$16,464

$21,035

44.9

$33,942

63.5

61.4

Iron County

$16,307

$20,834

44.5

$37,038

69.3

77.8

State of Michigan

$36,652

$46,828

100.0

$53,457

100.0

14.2

Florence County

 

26,637

 

34,032

 

75.9

 

40,840

 

77.2

 

20.0

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000 DP-3, 1990 STF 3A, P080A, P107A, P114A.

As can be seen from this table, the City of Crystal Falls enjoyed modest gains in income
during the 1990s, roughly equivalent to the percentage gains statewide. This means that
on average, local residents have slightly more money to spend than they did in 1990,
although local incomes still lag well behind statewide averages. Iron County as a whole,
as well as Crystal Falls Township and the City of Iron River, saw much greater gains in
income between 1990 and 2000, with incomes increasing from 36 to almost 78 percent.
 This could be a result of upscale housing development in some areas, such as Crystal
Falls Township, which means higher-income households in the area. Another factor may
be the high proportion of residents of Crystal Falls with retirement or Social Security
 income; these residents receive cost-of-living increases, but do not generally see
significant gains in income.

Table 3-8 illustrates the sources of income for local households, according to the 2000
 Census. Since a household may have more than one type of income, the columns will
not total exactly. For example, one person in a household may receive SSI due to a
disability, while another household member may earn income from employment.

TABLE 3-8

Households by Type of Income, Selected Areas, 2000

Type of Income

City of Crystal Falls

Crystal Falls Twp.

Iron County

Michigan

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Percent

Earnings

491

62.2

517

68.6

3,673

64.1

80.2

Social Security

383

48.5

298

39.5

2,547

44.1

26.2

Supplemental Security Income

30

3.8

25

3.3

251

4.4

4.2

Public Assistance

40

5.1

12

1.6

230

4.0

3.6

Retirement

220

27.9

196

26.0

1,642

28.6

19.2

Total

789

100.0

754

100.0

5,734

100.0

100.0

Source: Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000 SF-3, DP-3.

With the exception of the proportion of households receiving public assistance, the
numbers are fairly consistent for Crystal Falls, Crystal Falls Township, and iron County.
Crystal Falls Township has a much lower percentage of residents receiving public
 assistance, which would be expected in a community with overall higher incomes. The
comparison of most interest, however, is between the state averages and the local figures. Statewide, 80.2 percent of households have some type of earned income, while the City’s proportion is nearly 20 percentage points lower.
 Only 26.2 percent of the state’s households receive Social Security, while in Crystal Falls
 nearly half of all households receive Social security. The proportion of households with
 retirement income (other than Social Security) is much higher locally, with nearly 28
 percent of Crystal Falls’ households receiving retirement income compared to 19.2
percent of households statewide.

4.0 NATURAL FEATURES AND LAND USE

4.1 Natural Features

One of the most obvious features of the City of Crystal Falls is the steep topography of
the area. The main business district is located on a hillside west of the Paint River.
Approaching the city from the east on M-69, visitors to the community can see the
entire downtown area rising before them along Superior Avenue. From the top of the
 hill, looking east, the Paint River and the hills across the river can be seen, with the
business district in the foreground. Elevations in the city range from approximately
1,300 feet above sea level along the Paint River to over 1,540 feet in the highest areas
west of the river.

While offering scenic views and providing an attractive entrance to the community,
 these steep slopes can present challenges to development as well. Construction
techniques must be adapted to compensate for the steep terrain, potentially adding
 expense. Provision of municipal services can be made more difficult in cases where
water or wastewater must be pumped to its destination, rather than relying on gravity.
In some steep areas, runoff from storms or melting snow can present drainage problems.

Due to its inland location in one of only two counties in the Upper Peninsula that do
 not border directly on the Great Lakes, Crystal Falls does not feel the influence of
 Lake Superior or Lake Michigan the way communities closer to the shoreline do.
 "Lake effect" snows typically do not reach this far inland, and the lakes are too far
away to moderate temperature extremes. The climate is generally characterized as
a continental climate, with cold winters and short, relatively cool summers. The
average minimum temperature in January is 1 degree Fahrenheit, while the average
maximum temperature in January is 22 degrees Fahrenheit. In July the average
minimum is 52 degrees, and the average maximum is 79 degrees. A few miles north
 of Crystal Falls along U.S. 141 lies the community of Amasa, locally known as the
 home of extremely cold winter temperatures.

The growing season in Iron County averages between 60 to 100 days, precluding
the growing of many crops which require long growing seasons. Average annual
precipitation is about 32 inches, and snowfall across the County ranges from 70 to
 140 inches per year.

The waterfall which gave the city its name is no longer visible due to the construction
of the dam which now provides a third of the city’s electrical needs. However, the
Paint River remains one of the significant water features in the community, bisecting
 the city as it flows in a southeasterly direction across the city. Other nearby water
 features include Runkle Lake, which lies partly within the city, and Fortunes Lakes,
Michigamme Reservoir, and the Peavey Falls Reservoir. The city takes advantage of
 these natural features for recreation, with a park at Runkle Lake, a boat launch and
barrier-free fishing pier, and a River Walk along the Paint River.

While the City of Crystal Falls itself is an area considerably altered by human use,
with manmade structures predominating, the surrounding areas provide a natural
setting for the community. The rural areas around the city are primarily mixed forest,
 which replaced the white

pine, spruce and hemlock harvested in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These rural
 areas are dotted with lakes, and concentrations of human habitation consist primarily
 of homes and cottages along lakeshores and residential areas close to incorporated
cities. This natural environment surrounding the city provides scenic beauty, fish
 and wildlife habitat, raw materials for natural resource-based industries, and
generally contributes to the quality of life in the area. A wide variety of fish and
 wildlife species inhabit these lakes and forests, providing recreational opportunities
 to hunters, fisherman, and those who enjoy viewing wildlife. Common wildlife
 species include deer, bear, moose, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, raccoons,
 porcupines, and the like. The gray wolf, a federally-listed Threatened species,
is found in forested areas throughout the Upper Peninsula, and probably inhabits
the areas around the city. The bald eagle, classified as Threatened, can also be found
 in the area. Walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, bass, trout and a variety of panfish
 inhabit area lakes and rivers.

4.2 Land Use Patterns

Land use patterns in Iron County have developed largely as a result of natural
 resource extraction. The City of Crystal Falls, for example, was founded as a result
of the deposits of iron ore in the area, and the roads and railroads which serve the
community were established to transport raw materials and materials into and out
of the area. Lumber mills were established along the rivers used to bring logs in from
distant forests, and communities sprang up around them. Records indicate at least 79
mines in Iron County, and a recent estimate places the number at around 115.
 Thirty-four lumber camps were in operation around Crystal Falls in 1884, further
evidence of the area’s dependence on natural resources. Recent land use trends are
less dependent on natural resources, and new developments have resulted in
residential and other uses being established in areas that would have previously
been considered undesirable for development.

The City of Crystal Falls has evolved from a mining and lumbering town to a
 community with a manufacturing base of several small firms, a growing health
care sector, and a downtown which has shifted from predominately retail stores
to a mix of retail and service businesses. The recent trend has been towards
 development on the edges of the community, with both residential and commercial
 development extending farther towards the city limits and into Crystal Falls
 Township.

Thus, it is evident that land use is not static, but is continuously changing. Changes
 in land use have been the result of various decisions made by individuals, families,
 businesses, or governmental/public agencies. It is important to note, however, that
land use changes cannot be attributed to a single set of decisions made by one group
 or individual. Rather they are generally due to a combination of decisions made by a
 number of individuals, organizations, or public agencies.

4.3 Factors Affecting Land Use

Decisions which affect land use are made at many different levels, including the
 home buyer, developer, land speculator, or governmental unit.

The home buyer tends to base decisions on location, quality of surroundings,
available public services, and personal satisfaction, among other factors.

Land speculators or developers make decisions to hold land in expectation of
realizing a profit later or developing or selling at the present time. These decisions
 are influenced by the supply and demand for various types of housing and the home
lending market, demand for goods and services, or industrial needs, among other
 factors.

It is significant to note the decisions made at these levels serve primarily a person’s
own interests and often do not consider the effect of development on surrounding
land uses, utilities, services, and so on. This decision-making process in itself has the
potential to lead to discontinuous development or incompatible arrangements of land
 uses.

Public agencies, such as federal, state, county or local governments, play an important
role in land use changes. Various laws, rules, and regulations attempt to coordinate
 development for overall community improvement.

The federal government exercises a number of responsibilities that affect land use
 through various loan and grant programs for such purposes as planning, housing,
economic development, and water and sewer systems. Other than funding, they have
little control over the direction and magnitude of land use changes. However, it is
 evident these programs do have an effect on development; for example, some
funding programs will not allow funds to be used for extension of utilities to new
areas, but will only upgrade facilities in the existing service area.

Federal regulations concerning environmental protection, fair housing, etc. can impact
 land use patterns. However, many of these federal regulations are actually enforced
 by the state, as in the case of the Safe Drinking Water Act, a federal law which
regulates public water systems. In Michigan, this and other federal laws are actually
enforced by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Federal agencies
such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers enforce some federal regulations, such as
those dealing with wetlands on the Great Lakes shoreline.

The role of the state has traditionally been limited to enacting enabling legislation to
 local governments to regulate growth and development, and to administering federal
 grant programs and regulations. However, State laws regarding land division, wet
lands protection, farmland preservation, etc., can have a direct effect on local land
use decisions.

Local governments can probably exert the most effective influence on land use
 changes through public investment in projects such as schools, parks, roads, and
municipal utilities. Growth and land use can also be regulated by local governments
through zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations and building codes. Local
planning efforts that seek to define the most suitable uses of an area, anticipate and
prepare for future growth can help guide land use decisions.

Among other factors, the transportation system has a great deal of influence on land
use. As the interstate and local highway systems throughout the country expanded
and vehicle ownership became more common during the 20th century, land use
patterns changed on response. Rather than living the majority of their lives in a
 single community, or even a neighborhood in that community, people now travel
routinely between communities daily for employment, health care, shopping,
recreation, educational opportunities, etc. This has contributed to urban sprawl
 and the out-migration from urban areas. The transportation system is also vital
to business and industry as a means of moving goods, raw materials, and customers.

However, it should be noted that these are not the only decisions influencing land
use changes. Taxation, land values, proximity to industrial areas, and terrain all play
a part in land use changes. Changing technology, including e-mail, the Internet, fax
 machines and teleconferencing, means that some businesses and industries can now
consider locating in areas where they would previously have been too far from their
markets, or from a central facility. It is expected that telecommuting and working from
 home or a small satellite office linked electronically to a central office will become
more common. Changes in lifestyles, family size, shopping habits and other attributes
also affect land use patterns.

Thus, it is clear that many factors and decisions made by various individuals, groups,
 and agencies influence land use changes.

4.4 Current Land Use Pattern

The majority of land within the City of Crystal Falls is developed as residential,
commercial, or other uses, with a relatively small proportion of the community
remaining undeveloped. The city contains a mix of uses within its approximately
1,900 acres, as well as some areas which are currently vacant. The effects of the mining
 era can be seen in the city, with the remnants of structures and pits in some areas. The
general trend in recent years has been towards development along the U.S. 2 corridor
on the west side of the city.

Commercial Uses: The commercial areas of the city are primarily concentrated along
the main transportation routes. The traditional "downtown" area is along Superior
Avenue (M-69) west of the Paint River, and contains public uses such as City Hall,
post office, etc., as well as commercial uses. These public uses help attract people to
the downtown area. Most of the structures in the downtown are relatively old, and
parking is somewhat limited. Some of the buildings are historically and architecturally
significant, such as City Hall and the Iron County Courthouse. Commercial uses are
also located along Crystal Avenue (U.S. 2 and 41), although most are in Crystal Falls
Township. The commercial uses in the outlying areas of the city tend to be those
which require larger lots for parking and/or display of merchandise, or in some
cases are highly dependent on drive-by traffic and so desire a highway location.
While many communities have seen the construction of new or upgraded highways
 result in bypassing of the traditional business district, in Crystal Falls the main
thoroughfare continues to bring visitors directly through the downtown.

Residential Uses: East of the Paint River, there is a residential area north of M-69. On
the west side of the river, residential neighborhoods lie behind the central business
district along Superior and Crystal avenues, and on both sides of U.S. 141 and 2 in the
southern part of the city. The vast majority of the residential structures are single-family
homes on a residential lot. As

reflected in the Census data, the residential neighborhoods in the City of Crystal Falls
are generally made up of older housing. In the areas which were first platted in the
 early days of the city, lot sizes are generally very small by today’s standards. The
 small lots are often less desirable to those people who wish to build a larger home,
 since two or more lots may be required to provide the necessary space. For existing
 housing, the small lot size can limit the ability to add on to the structure, or to
provide garages or other outbuildings. In contrast to residential areas along lakes
 or in the rural parts of nearby townships, relatively few seasonal homes are found
in the city. Mobile homes are generally not found within the city, the result of a zoning
 ordinance that effectively prohibits their presence. Chapter 6, Housing, provides further
 information on the type, age, and occupancy status of housing in the city.

Industrial Uses: The City of Crystal Falls has established an industrial park on the
 city’s west side. The park has excellent access to the major highway corridors, as it
is bounded by U.S. 2 and 141 on the south and by U.S. 141 on the west. Utilities are
readily available, and several firms have located in or committed to the park. The park
 has been designated as a Renaissance Zone by the Michigan Economic Development
Corporation, which results in significant tax savings for property owners in the park.
 Specifically, all state taxes, such as the real and personal property tax, are waived for
properties inside the Renaissance Zone, for a period of 10 years after the establishment
of the Zone. This is intended to serve as a powerful incentive to lure new and
 expanding firms to the area, as well as assist local residents who start a business.

Public Uses: Public uses include publicly-owned facilities as well as those
privately-owned facilities that are generally open to the public. These uses are
located throughout the city. Chapter 5, Community Facilities and Services, discusses
the type and location of public buildings and other facilities in the city. These uses
 include governmental buildings such as City Hall, schools, and public lands such
as parks.

4.5 Contaminated Sites

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is required by the Michigan
 Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to identify, evaluate and rank
all sites of environmental contamination in Michigan. Environmental contamination
means the release of a hazardous substance, or the potential release of a discarded
 hazardous substance, in a quantity which is or may become injurious to the
 environment, or to the public health, safety or welfare.

In those areas where hazardous substances have been identified, future development
is restricted. An environmentally contaminated site can potentially affect a much larger
area if contaminants enter groundwater sources. Moreover, surface waters used for
recreational pursuits such as swimming and fishing are potentially subject to
 contamination. Table 4-1 shows the sites currently listed in the City of Crystal Falls,
and their status.

TABLE 4-1

Sites of Environmental Contamination, City of Crystal Falls

 

Site Name

SAM Score

 

Location

Contaminant(s)

Status

City of Crystal Falls Dump

16

NW ¼, NE ¼, S21, T43N, R32W

Domestic waste

No Action Taken

Crystal Falls Township Disposal

10

NE ¼, NE ¼, S19, T43N, R32W

Domestic waste

No Action Taken

122 N. Runkle Shore Road

NA

City of Crystal Falls

Petroleum spill

Partial cleanup, site not closed out

Lakehead Pipeline Leak – MP1286

NA

Crystal Falls Township

Natural Gas Leak

Groundwater contamination being monitored

Source: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, 9/2003

NOTES TO TABLE 4-1:

Site Name: The site name is assigned for identification purposes
only and is not necessarily a party responsible for contamination.

SAM Score: A numerical risk assessment model, known as the Site
Assessment Model, is used to rank all Act 307 sites, except leaking
underground storage tanks. The SAM has a scale of 0 to 48 points,
with 48 points representing the highest level of contamination.
Therefore, a site with a SAM score of 25 would present more risk to
 the environment, health, safety or welfare than a site with a score
 of 20.

Status: Sites are placed in one of seven categories, depending on
the action, if any, which has been taken towards cleanup.

Environmental and public health concerns surrounding leaking underground storage
tanks have led to more stringent requirements with installation and monitoring. Many
 fuel tanks that complied with earlier standards have degraded and leak contents into
the surrounding soil. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality maintains a
 list of Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites in Michigan, and cleanup of
these sites is being actively pursued by the MDEQ.

From a land use standpoint, the presence of environmental contamination represents a
constraint on future development, as well as a threat to human health and safety. In
addition to affecting a specific site, some contaminants can enter groundwater and cause
 more widespread problems, such as water well contamination. It is desirable to identify
 and remediate contaminated sites in a timely manner, in order that potential hazards
 and land use constraints be removed.

4.6 City Boundaries

The corporate limits of the City of Crystal Falls define a very irregular outline of the
community, particularly on the western and southern boundaries. Along U.S. 2 and 141
 west, for example, the areas south of the highway are located in Crystal Falls Township.
North of the highway, the area between Tobin Street and Krempasky Road (about ¼ mile),
 north to just north of Harrison

Avenue, is in the Township. West of Krempasky Road to where U.S. 141 splits off from
U.S. 2 and heads north (also about ¼ mile), the city boundary generally runs along the
northern boundary of the lots fronting on the highway. The southern boundary of the
city encompasses an area extending about ¼ mile south along the east side of U.S. 2, as
well as a long, narrow area extending along the western edge of the Paint River for about
 a mile. Due to this discontinuous boundary along U.S. 2 and 141, municipal services
such as water and sewer lines, electrical lines, etc., must be routed through portions of
 Crystal Falls Township. In these areas, service is provided to businesses and residences
 in the Township.

 

5.0 COMMUNITY FACILITIES AND SERVICES

5.1 Introduction

Services such as public safety, water, wastewater systems, street, park operations, and
solid waste disposal are essential to a community’s homes and businesses. Facilities,
such as government buildings, schools, hospitals, parks, etc. are the physical structures
required for these services. The condition, efficiency and capacity of services and
facilities are indicators of community’s governance and administration.

Some of these facilities and services are provided directly by the City of Crystal Falls,
sometimes under joint arrangements with other units of government or by contract.
Other facilities and services are provided by other local, county, state or federal agencies,
 or by the private sector.

As part of the comprehensive planning effort, these services and facilities are described
 and evaluated as to their present condition and adequacy to meet present and future
needs of the City.

 

5.2 City Facilities and Services

City Hall

The Crystal Falls City Hall is located at 401 Superior Avenue. Built in 1914, the City Hall
 houses most City offices, including the City Manager, City Clerk/Treasurer, City
Council chambers, police and fire departments, electric department, and public works
 department. Shop and garage facilities for the fire, electric, and public departments are
 also located at City Hall, as is a mechanic shop and garage. The entrance on the west side
 of City Hall is handicapped accessible, and accessible restrooms are located on all three
 floors of the building. An elevator was installed in 1994, at the same time as the accessible
restrooms. As a result of the move of the library to a separate facility, the former library is
now being used as the Council chambers and a map room. The current map room will be
converted into a new office for the City Manager. The complex is adequate for current
 needs, but additional storage space for records and similar items is needed.

Other City Offices/buildings

The Cemetery office is located at the cemetery. City-owned buildings at the Crystal
View Golf Course include a shop/garage, clubhouse, and two buildings for storage
 of golf carts. A caretaker’s cabin, bathrooms, wigwam, and changing house are located
 at Runkle Lake Park, and there is a warming house at the municipal ski hill. The electric
and public works department store equipment and materials at a warehouse at the
 former Bristol Mine site.

Law Enforcement

The Crystal Falls Police Department is housed at City Hall and provides 24-hour law
 enforcement protection to the City. The department is staffed by five full-time officers,
a chief, sergeant and three patrol officers. The Crystal Falls Police Department assists
the Iron County Sheriff’s Department by providing backup as needed for incidents
outside the City, and the Sheriff’s Department provides backup in the City. The Iron
County Sheriff’s Department also provides County-wide animal control services,
 marine, ORV and snowmobile patrol, and supports the volunteer search and rescue
 team. The Sheriff’s department office and 50-bed correctional facility are housed at
the Iron County Courthouse Complex in Crystal Falls. The animal shelter is located
in the City of Iron River. The snowmobile patrol is provided in cooperation with the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the City of Crystal Falls.

Fire Protection

The Crystal Falls Fire Authority was formed in 1990 and provides fire protection for
the City of Crystal Falls, Crystal Falls and Mansfield townships, and parts of Mastodon
 and Hematite townships. Four full-time drivers and 23 volunteer firefighters staff the
 authority, offices and equipment are located in Crystal Falls at the City Hall complex.
In addition to responding to calls within the area served by the authority, response is
provided through mutual aid to other departments as needed.

Other Emergency Services

Ambulance service is provided by Marquette General Hospital. The primary base for
this service is near the Iron River Community Hospital in Iron River. An ambulance
 garage is also located in Crystal Falls Township at the U.S. 2/U.S. 141 intersection,
with volunteers on call during the week. On weekends, the ambulance is dispatched
from the Iron River garage.

Iron County is served by an enhanced 911 system, wherein a single call to 911 serves
to dispatch the appropriate emergency services. The dispatch center is located at the
Iron County Sheriff’s Department, and is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Municipal Water and Wastewater Systems

The City of Crystal Falls provides municipal water and wastewater treatment services
to City residents as well as some residents of Crystal Falls Township.

The municipal water system obtains water from wells located in the northeastern corner
 of the City. Water is pumped to the filtration plant near the power plant at the northern
 edge of the City, then to the 200,000-gallon elevated storage tank located behind the
 Iron County Courthouse. The tank provides gravity flow to the entire service area for
the system. The City is currently undertaking a water system improvement project, and
 is exploring the development of a new water source on property located west of the
City in Crystal Falls Township. This area has been determined to be the best source of
 water for the system. Water rates have recently been increased in order to build a
 reserve account to help pay for water system improvements. Funding in the form of
a grant and/or loan will be requested from U.S.D.A. Rural Development to combine
with these local funds to accomplish needed improvements.

The wastewater treatment is a lagoon system, constructed in approximately 1968. The
system is currently in compliance with state and federal standards. There are areas in
the City that are not served by the wastewater system, and these residents must rely
 on on-site systems such as septic tanks. These areas are generally too low and/or too
 sparsely populated to justify sewer service.

Separation of storm and sanitary sewers has been underway since 1993-94. The first
phase of the project was along Crystal Avenue, followed by a phase two project
encompassing the remainder of the City with the exception of Superior Avenue.
Superior Avenue sewer separation work is planned to be completed soon, perhaps
 during the 2004 construction season in conjunction with a planned downtown
 streetscape project using MDOT funds.

The areas outside of the City limits which are served by City water and sewer are
those areas along U.S. 2 west where the irregular corporate limit results in areas
 under the jurisdiction of the Township being intermingled with the City.

A comparison of wastewater rates with other Upper Peninsula communities is
provided in Table 5-1; a comparison of regional water rates follows in Table 5-2.
 The rates for the City of Crystal Falls shown in the tables do not reflect the current
rates paid by customers, but have not been changed in order to maintain comparability
of the figures in the various communities. The current monthly charge for unmetered
residential water service is $25.00 per month for City residents, and $26.50 per month
in those areas of Crystal Falls Township served by the system. Metered services are
charged $25.00 per month for the first 3,740 gallons or 500 cubic feet in the City, and
$26.50 in the Township. Additional water usage is charged at a per-gallon or per-cubic
 foot rate, depending on the type of meter used. Sewer rates are $24.00 per month in
the City, and $26.25 in the Township. Additional charges apply for water usage over
5,800 gallons.

TABLE 5-1

Wastewater User Rates, Selected Upper Peninsula Communities, 1999

Community

Population

Fixed Charge

Cost Per 1,000 Gallons

Cost Per 5,000 Gallons

1990 Median Household Income

% of MHI Charged for Wastewater

Year of Last Upgrade

City of Iron Mountain

8,700

$ 1.34

(5/8" meter)

$ 1.10

$ 5.49

$ 24,293

0.27

1996

City of Kingsford

5,280

 

$ 0.65

(5/8" meter)

$ 2.20

$ 11.00

$ 24,293

0.27

2001

City of Norway **

3,000

$ 3.44

$ 4.00

$ 23.44

$ 21,875

-

1994

City of Bessemer

2,272

$ 14.15

$ 3.95

$ 33.90

$ 15,472

2.63

1998/99

City of Crystal Falls

1,920

$ 21.00

-

$ 21.00

$ 17,885

1.41

1998

City of Escanaba

14,000

$ 3.28

$ 1.38

$ 10.18

$ 19,982

0.61

1998

City of Gladstone ***

4,700

$ 7.50

$ 2.10

$ 18.00

$ 22,134

0.98

1974

City of Ironwood

7,000

$ 12.91

$ 4.72

$ 36.51

$ 16,857

2.60

1988

City of Ishpeming

7,200

$ 11.69

$ 2.90

$ 26.19

$ 21,199

1.48

1984-86

City of Manistique

3,874

$ 5.00

$ 5.54

$ 32.70

$ 17,581

2.23

`996

City of Marquette

20,000

$ 5.00

$ 2.86

$ 19.30

$ 24,365

0.95

1981

City of Menominee

10,000

$ 22.41

$ 2.28

$ 33.81

$ 20,829

1.95

-

City of Munising ****

2,733

$ 2.00

$ 6.90

$ 36.50

$ 21,010

1.70

1990

City of Negaunee

4,740

$ 6.70

$ 5.25

$ 32.95

$ 23,345

1.69

-

City of St. Ignace

2,700

$ 16.29

$ 2.63

$ 29.44

$ 20,024

1.76

1986

Source: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, 1999 Upper Peninsula Wastewater User Rate Survey; City of Kingsford

* rates effective January 2001

** rates effective October 2000

***collection system upgrades continuing

**** corrected data per city of Munising

TABLE 5-2

Residential Water Rates, Selected Upper Peninsula Communities, 1997

Community

Source & Treatment

Population Served

Residential Services

Billing Cycle

Minimum Per Month

Gallons Per Minimum Rate

Cost/5,000 Gallons/Month

Percent Production Sold

Rates Adopted

City of Iron Mountain

G

8,500

3,600

B

$ 11.50

(5/8" meter)

0

$ 8.67

71%

02/99

City of Kingsford

G

6,700

2,291

B

$ 2.50

(5/8" meter)

0

$ 5.60

(5/8" meter)

80%

07/95

City of Norway*

GM

3,000

1,463

M

$ 18.50

4,000

$ 20.00

49%

07/98

City of Bessemer

G

2,272

1,295

M

$ 10.15

100

$ 17.50

68%

01/97

City of Crystal Falls

GCM

1,922

972

M

$ 7.50

3,740

$ 12.50

NA

03/95

City of Escanaba

SFM

13,659

4,200

M

$ 4.90

0

$ 10.50

70%

06/98

City of Gladstone

SFM

4,396

1,678

M

$ 9.21

1,000

$ 16.05

80%

01/97

City of Ironwood

GC

9,000

3,000

M

$ 6.65

748

$ 16.03

51%

07/95

City of Ishpeming

BGM

7,145

2,492

M

$ 9.20

2,000

$ 23.00

56%

12/90

City of Marquette

SFM

22,196

4,897

M

$ 6.73

748

$ 22.25

72%

07/96

City of Menominee

SFM

9,398

3,500

Q

$ 6.04

748

$ 14.23

75%

07/97

City of Munising

GM

2,783

822

M

$ 9.46

1,000

$ 17.30

27%

10/88

City of Negaunee

BGM

4,741

1,500

M

$ 8.00

1,000

$ 43.20

75%

01/97

City of St. Ignace

SFM

2,900

1,100

M

$ 18.96

1,000

$ 28.40

53%

01/95

Source: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, August 1999; City of Kingsford

Abbreviations: B = Buys, F = Filters, M = Miscellaneous (fluoride, etc.), C = Chlorinates, G = Groundwater, S = Surface Water

* Rates indicated are as of October 2000

Electric Department

The City of Crystal Falls owns a hydroelectric dam on the Paint River. The dam and
associated hydroelectric power plant produce about one megawatt of electricity, which
 provides approximately one-third of the City’s needs. Additional power is purchased
from WE Energies, and all power is distributed on City-owned lines. The hydro plant
and dam are in good condition, and the City plans to automate the plant over the next
 year or two. Production of hydroelectric power allows the City to keep electrical rates
 low, and offer an attractive rate to large users such as industrial concerns.

Cable TV

The City of Crystal Falls owns the cable television system which serves the City and
 some areas of Crystal Falls Township. The cable system shares utility corridors with
the City’s electrical system. Twenty-six channels are offered for a cost of $13.00 per
 month for City residents and $13.50 per month for Township customers of the system.
HBO can be added for an additional $8.00 per month. Customers desiring additional
 channels use satellite dishes, as no other cable system is available within the City.

Solid Waste Disposal and Recycling

Weekly curbside garbage pickup is provided to all City residents and businesses on
Monday of each week. The City contracts with Waste Management to provide this
service, which is paid for by residents who buy stickers to place on their trash bags.
 Only trash bearing these stickers, which currently cost $2.10 each, will be collected
by Waste Management crews. Refuse from the City is then hauled to a transfer station
 about seven miles west of Crystal Falls on U.S. 2. Recycling collection is provided on
the last Saturday of each month at a drop-off site on Cloverland drive. Yard waste is
picked up in spring and fall by the City, as these items are not picked up by Waste
Management.

Cemetery

The City of Crystal Falls maintains a cemetery, known as Evergreen Cemetery, in the
eastern part of the City. A variety of sizes of lots are available for purchase. Costs for
burials from outside the local area (the City of Crystal Falls, Crystal Falls, Mansfield
and Mastodon townships) are higher. The cemetery is of adequate size to provide for
the area’s needs.

Parks and Recreation

The City of Crystal Falls maintains a five-year Recreation Plan in accordance with
Michigan Department of Natural resources guidelines. This plan more fully describes
all recreational facilities and programs in the City, and maintains City eligibility for
 MDNR recreation grant programs. While it is not the purpose of this plan to reiterate
the information found in the Recreation Plan, a brief summary of some of the major
 City-owned recreational facilities is included here.

The Runkle Lake Recreation Complex is located in the eastern portion of the City on
the shoreline of Runkle Lake. Facilities include 57 campsites, 17 with water, electric
and sewer hookups and the remaining sites with water and electric hookups only.
 Restrooms and showers are available. Softball and Little League fields, tennis,
 basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a playground and picnic area,
guarded swimming beach, and a public boat launch and fishing pier are also located
 at the park.

The Crystal View Golf Course is a nine-hole course located at 602 Wagner Street on
 the City’s east side. A clubhouse, concessions, and golf cart rentals are available, and
 membership costs are lower for City residents. The recently-completed Riverwalk
connects Lincoln Park along M-69 at the Paint River to the golf course, offering a scenic
 boardwalk and pathway along the river. The Crystella Ski Hill, located in the southern
 portion of the City, offers two rope tows, a lighted hill, lodge/warming building, and
an ice skating rink.

The Crystal Falls Contemporary Center offers youth recreation and classes, as well as
arts and cultural activities for the entire community. The Contemporary Center is
located in the downtown area at 200 Superior Avenue. The Crystal Falls Theater is a
 renovated movie theater, built in 1927. Restoration began in 1988, and the renovated
facility opened in 1991 following extensive volunteer effort. The theater seats over 500,
and is used for concerts, plays, and other performances. The Harbour House Museum
is located in the former residence of the Harbour family, built in 1900, and is open from
 Memorial Day through Labor Day. All three of these facilities are housed in
 City-owned buildings, are carried on the City’s insurance policy, and receive some
 funding from the City. Each facility is operated by a board, which does fundraising
and charges fees for events and services to help cover operating costs.

5.3 Other Facilities and Services

Educational Services and Facilities

The Forest Park School District provides education for students in grades kindergarten
 through 12 in the City of Crystal Falls as well as in Crystal Falls, Hematite, Mansfield
and Mastodon townships. Both the elementary and high schools are located in the City
 of Crystal Falls, at 801 Forest Parkway. The high school was constructed in 1970, and
the elementary school in 1998. As with many districts in the Upper Peninsula, declining
 enrollment has resulted in decreased funding for the local school district. In 1998 the
total enrollment in the Forest Park Schools was 732 students in grades K-12. The
decrease in enrollment was relatively small in 1999 (729) and 2000 (723). In 2001 the
student count was 691, and for the 2002-03 school year 660 students were enrolled.

As enrollment declines, the amount of revenue received from the state also declines,
as the state foundation grant is awarded on a per-pupil basis. When state aid declines,
districts often resort to taking money from the fund balance to continue programs and
 maintain facilities. Such appears to have been the case in the Forest Park School District,
 as reserves dropped form 30.5 percent of spending in 1998 to 0.3 percent of spending in
2001, according to the Standard and Poors School Evaluation Services. While this decline
 in enrollment is not a result of City policy, nor is it

directly affected by City actions, it is reflective of the general aging of the population.
The population decline in the City is negated by population gains in Crystal Falls and
 Mastodon townships, with the population of the district declining by only eight people
 between 1990 and 2000. It is critical to the City that the local school system remains
 financially solvent and continues to offer a high quality education to local students.
School systems are critical in attracting new residents to an area, especially families
with children, and local schools foster community spirit and pride.

Local residents desiring to continue their education beyond high school must travel
 from the community in order to do so. Several community colleges and universities
serve residents of the Upper Peninsula, with the closest located more than an hour’s
drive away. Some classes are offered in the Iron Mountain/Kingsford area through
Bay College and Northern Michigan University, but course offering are limited.
Post-secondary educational facilities within the region and approximate distances
from Crystal Falls are shown in Table 5-3.

TABLE 5-3

Educational Institutions Serving the Upper Peninsula

Name of Institution

Location

Distance (mi.) from Crystal Falls

Bay de Noc Community College

Escanaba

82

Northern Michigan University

Marquette

72

Michigan Technological University

Houghton

85

Finlandia University (formerly Suomi College)

Hancock

90

Gogebic Community College

Ironwood

98

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Green Bay

130

University of Wisconsin-Marinette

Marinette

105

Northland Baptist Bible College

Dunbar, WI

**

Health Care

A variety of health care professionals, including doctors, dentists, home health care, and
other specialties, serve residents of Crystal Falls. The Iron County Community Hospital,
located in Iron River, provides in- and out-patient services; Dickinson County Memorial
 Hospital in Iron Mountain, about 30 miles away, is also close enough to provide services
 on a routine basis. Marquette General Hospital in Marquette provides regional health
care services, with access to specialists which might not be available locally.

Long-term skilled nursing care is provided at the Iron County Medical Care Facility
about two miles west of Crystal Falls. The Medical Care Facility has services for
 Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering from dementia. The Crystal Manor in
 Crystal Falls currently also provides long-term residential care, but residents of
 Crystal Manor are scheduled to move to an expanded iron County medical Care
facility in 2004. At that time the Crystal Manor building will be available for re-use.
This historic former hotel has nearly 28,000 square feet available on five floors including
the attic and basement. Marketing efforts for this structure are currently underway.

The Iron County Medical Care Facility also provides the Victorian Heights Assisted
Living facility, with 13 studio and 12 1-bedroom units. Assisted living offers residents
the opportunity to live independently with maintenance, most utilities, light
housekeeping and other services included in the monthly cost. While some personal
care is available, assisted living is designed for those still able to live on their own,
 rather than requiring assistance with daily activities. Meals are available, although
 each unit has kitchen facilities and residents may prepare their own meals. Assisted
 living is a relatively recent phenomenon, and may become more commonplace as the
population ages. This level of care is not currently licensed or regulated by the State of
Michigan, beyond normal building codes, food service regulations, etc.

Other Utilities

Natural gas is provided throughout most of the City by DTE Energy, formerly known
as Michcon. Availability of natural gas in Iron County is generally limited to the cities
 and the primary highway corridors.

Local telephone service throughout the City is provided by Ameritech and by Baraga
Telephone. A variety of long distance providers also serve the community, and
customers can select their own provider based on rates, quality of service, etc.

Dial-up Internet access is available to all telephone customers through various
 providers. Baraga Telephone has also installed DSL Internet service throughout
much of the City, offering much higher connection speed and freeing up telephone
lines for other uses.

Library

The Crystal Falls District Community Library is located at 237 Superior Avenue in
Crystal Falls, after having recently moved from City Hall. In addition to its collection
of books and magazines, the library offers a copy and fax machine, laminating,
 interlibrary loan for books not available locally, and six computers with Internet
access available for use by library patrons. The library is open Monday-Saturday.

Iron County Courthouse

The historic Iron County Courthouse is located in Crystal Falls, at the top of the hill
overlooking the Paint River. Built in 1890, the Courthouse was designed by architect
 J. C. Clancy and cost about $40,000 to construct. The clock tower and bell were added
 later. The courthouse and associated buildings house Iron County offices, and the
Courthouse is currently undergoing a renovation process designed to preserve the
historic structure. The location of the Courthouse in Crystal Falls draws county
 residents to the community to conduct business, and the unique structure is an
 attractive feature of the community.

Elderly Services

Nutrition, social and information programs are provided through centers operated
 by the Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency. Senior centers are maintained
in several locations in Iron County, including the Crystal Falls location at 601 Marquette
Avenue. The Center is open Monday through Friday and Sunday; hours of operation
 vary depending on the day of the week and the programs offered.

6.0 HOUSING

6.1 Introduction

Housing is one of the key factors to consider when planning for a community’s future.
The location and type of housing help to determine where public infrastructure must
be located and public services provided, while at the same time the location of new
housing can be determined in part by the availability of such infrastructure and
 services. Housing characteristics also reveal information about a community’s
economic and social condition and history.

The cost of housing and the type of housing offered are typically determined by
market factors. Outside of operating a housing authority or in some cases serving
as developers of residential property, most local units of government do not become
directly involved in the provision of housing. However, through zoning and other
 land use controls, the provision of infrastructure and services, and efforts to attract
new residents to a community, local governments can have a significant effect on the
 housing in an area.

National statistics show that home ownership is at an all-time high, encouraged by
the current low mortgage interest rates. At the same time, the number of households
renting is growing nationwide. While personal income is a strong factor in many
 families’ decisions regarding renting or purchasing a home, other considerations
make renting a preferred choice for some households.

Neighborhood conditions reflect past and current choices. Well maintained structures
are indicative of healthy neighborhoods that residents find worthy of investment. In a
sense, neighborhoods within a community compete with one another and, as such,
 represent products that people buy.

 

The information contained in this chapter reflects the most recent housing data available.
 Age, type and occupancy related to existing housing are included for analysis. This
information will help City officials assess housing needs and determine appropriate
 measures to be undertaken in addressing those needs.

 

6.2 Housing Characteristics

Trends

The Census Bureau recorded a total of 922 housing units the City of Crystal Falls in 1990,
and 913 housing units in 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of housing units
 decreased by nine units or 0.1 percent.

In the 1990s, the total number of housing units in Iron County decreased from 9,039 in
1990 to 8,772 in 2000, a decrease of 3.0 percent. In Crystal Falls Township, however, the
 total number of housing units increased from 1,169 in 1990 to 1,198 in 2000, an increase
of 2.5 percent. In the City of Iron River, the number of housing units decreased 10.5
 percent, from 1,107 in 1990 to 991 in 2000. The decrease in the number of housing units
 locally was occurring at the same time that the housing stock statewide was growing at
a rate of 10 percent between 1990 and 2000.

While the decrease in the number of housing units in the City and County were
 unusual, the trend of stronger growth in housing stock in the surrounding
unincorporated areas is not. Most urban areas, large and small, have seen new housing
 developed at a greater rate in the surrounding townships. This trend will be explored
 further later in this chapter, using building permit data as a measure of housing
development in the area.

Housing unit totals as recorded in official census data for the years 1980, 1990 and 2000
are presented in Table 6-1.

TABLE 6-1

Total Housing Units, Selected Areas, 1990-2000

Unit of Government

1990

2000

Percent Change, 1990-2000

City of Crystal Falls

922

913

-0.1

Crystal Falls Township

1,169

1,207

2.5

City of Iron River

1,107

988

-10.5

Iron County

9,039

8,772

-3.0

State of Michigan

3,847,926

4,234,279

10.0

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000 Census of Population and Housing,

SF-3, H3, and 1990 Census of Population and Housing, STF-3, H3.

It should be noted that the data presented in Table 1 is derived from the 100 percent
count, or "short form" of the Census. Much of the housing information presented in this
 chapter is derived from the "long form," received by one in six households, and is
subject to sampling error. The numbers have not been corrected for small units, and
where sampling error causes differences in totals, the tables will be footnoted.

Occupancy and Tenure

According to the 2000 Census, 87.1 percent of the City’s housing units were occupied,
 with the remaining 12.9 percent listed as vacant. Nearly one-third of the vacant units,
 however, were shown as being for seasonal, recreational or occasional use, bringing
the vacancy rate for year-round housing to just over nine percent. County-wide, over
a third of housing units were vacant, but the vast majority of these were for seasonal
use, resulting in a year-round vacancy rate of under six percent, nearly equal to the
statewide average of 5.4 percent. It would be expected that a much higher proportion
of seasonal residences would be found outside the City, and the figures for Crystal Falls
Township bear that out, with about 400 housing units held for seasonal or related use.
When the seasonal units are factored out, however, the Township still showed growth
 in the number of housing units, as opposed to a decrease in the City between 1990 and
2000.

Nearly 80 percent of Crystal Falls’ occupied housing units were occupied by their
owners, with 21.5 percent occupied by renters. This compares with 82.4 percent
owner-occupancy in Iron County. Statewide, 73.8 percent of occupied housing units
 were owner-occupied. The proportion of renter-occupied housing is typically higher
 in cities than in rural townships, due to the presence of infrastructure to support
multi-family developments. The proximity to shopping, health care and other services
is also a factor in the location of multi-family housing.

TABLE 6-2

Housing Occupancy & Tenure, Selected Units, 2000

Housing Units

City of Crystal Falls

Iron County

State of Michigan

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Total Units

913

100.0

8,772

100.0

4,234,279

100.0

Occupied

795

87.1

5,748

65.5

3,785,661

89.4

Owner

625

78.5

4,737

82.4

2,793,124

73.8

Renter

171

21.5

1,011

17.6

992,537

26.2

Vacant

118

12.9

3,024

34.5

448,618

10.6

For seasonal, recreational or

occasional use

32

3.5

2,377

27.1

233,922

5.5

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics, Table DP-1, 2000

In 1990, according to the Census, householders in owner-occupied housing tended to
be older than householders in rental housing. In fact, householders 75 years of age and
older were the largest single age group of householders in Crystal Falls in 1990 and 2000,
 according to the Census, as shown in Table 6-2. Over 40 percent of the householders in
owner-occupied housing were 65 years of age or older in 2000. In renter-occupied
housing, a higher proportion of householders were 34 years old or younger; however,
householders 75 years old and older were still the largest group. In 2000, over 40 percent
 of householders in renter-occupied housing were over 65.

As mortality becomes a factor for these older households, questions about the future of
 this housing stock may arise. If these homes are passed on to younger family members,
 these family members may already have their own homes, or may want a newer, larger
 home. In either case, if the heirs do not need or want the house, it will likely be placed
on the market, and/or be converted to rental property. Since many of these homes are
likely older homes, given the number of homes 50 years old and older, the City may see
a relative "glut" of older housing on the market in years to come. The number of rental
properties may also increase, as homes are offered for rent either as single-family homes
 or divided into apartments.

TABLE 6-3

Tenure by Age of Householder, City of Crystal Falls, 1990 and 2000*

 

Age of Householder

Owner-occupied Units

Renter-occupied Units

1990

2000

1990

2000

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

15-24 years

4

0.6

14

2.2

19

9.3

18

10.5

25-34 years

53

8.6

41

6.6

47

23.6

25

14.6

35-44 years

99

16.0

113

18.1

34

17.1

29

17.0

45-54 years

67

10.9

117

18.8

12

6.0

16

9.4

55-64 years

99

16.0

75

12.0

7

3.5

14

8.2

65-74 years

140

22.7

111

17.8

24

12.1

12

7.0

75 years and over

155

25.1

153

24.5

56

28.1

57

33.3

Total

 

100.0

 

.0

 

100.0

 

100.0

* Data based on sample and subject to sampling error

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics, Table QT-H2, 2000 and
1990 Census of Population and Housing, STF 3A.

Units in Structure

The vast majority of Crystal Falls’ housing stock, according to the 2000 Census, was
 single-family detached homes. Eighty-six percent of the City’s housing units were of
this type, compared to 86.4 percent Countywide and 70.6 percent for the State of
Michigan. Following single-family detached units, two-family units (duplexes) were
next most common, at 5.2 percent of the City’s units. Few mobile homes were shown in
the City, compared to the County as a whole, while units in structures with 10 or more
units made up a higher proportion than in the County as a whole. Crystal Falls Township
 showed a high proportion of mobile homes. The City’s current zoning ordinance places
 significant restrictions on mobile homes in the City, which accounts for the low number
of such dwellings in the City.

TABLE 6-4

Units in Structure by Percentage, Selected Areas, 2000*

Unit Type

City of Crystal Falls

Crystal Falls Township

City of Iron River

Iron County

State of Michigan

1, detached

86.0

90.7

76.4

86.4

70.6

1, attached

0.9

0.5

0.4

0.4

3.9

2

5.2

0.0

13.7

3.0

3.5

3 or 4

1.7

0.2

3.3

1.0

2.8

5 to 9

1.1

0.0

0.4**

0.6

4.0

10 to 19

0.2**

0.0

0.8**

0.3

3.4

20 or more

4.3

0.0

2.5

1.7

5.1

Mobile Home

0.6

8.3

2.4

6.4

6.5

Other

0.0

0.4

0.0

0.3

0.2

Total

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

* Data based on sample and subject to sampling error

** Fewer units shown than in type of structure; sampling error

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics, Table DP-4, 2000

Age of Housing

According to the 2000 Census, over half the housing units in Crystal Falls were built
prior to 1940, and another 12 percent were built between 1940 and 1949. This means that
 nearly 65 percent of the City’s housing stock was 50 years old or older in 2000. The
median age of housing units, according to the Census, was prior to 1940. While older
housing is not necessarily inadequate or of poorer quality than newer structures, it is
more prone to deterioration if not adequately maintained. Since a relatively large
 number of householders are over the age of 65, when maintenance also may become
more difficult, much of the City’s housing stock may be vulnerable. Older housing units
 often lack the amenities desired by more affluent, younger households, such as multiple
bathrooms, large bedrooms, family rooms and large garages. These older units often
have narrow doorways, steep stairs, and other features which make them difficult for
older residents to enjoy, and increased maintenance demands may also make these
 homes less desirable to an aging population.

The high proportion of older housing in Crystal Falls reflects the City’s heritage as one
 of the earliest communities in the area. Countywide, 44.5 percent of the housing stock
is 50 years or older, and the median year built for housing units was 1954. In Crystal
 Falls Township, and the median year built was 1963, 35.8 percent of the housing units
are 50 years old or more. The City of Iron River, on the other hand, has an even higher
 proportion of older housing units than Crystal Falls, with 70.8 percent built prior to 1949.
 Table 6-5 illustrates the relative proportion of housing units by year built.

TABLE 6-5

Housing Units by Year Structure Built, Selected Areas, 2000*

Unit of Government

% 1990 to 2000

% 1980 to 1989

% 1970 to 1979

% 1960 to 1969

% 1950 to 1959

% 1940 to 1949

% 1939 or earlier

Total

City of Crystal Falls

3.8

4.0

12.7

4.0

11.0

12.0

52.6

100.0

Crystal Falls Township

11.9

12.2

14.9

7.7

11.5

8.4

27.4

100.0

City of Iron River

2.4

1.4

7.6

4.8

13.0

19.6

51.2

100.0

Iron County

12.1

8.9

14.1

7.3

13.1

12.2

32.3

100.0

State of Michigan

14.7

10.5

17.1

14.2

16.7

9.8

16.9

100.0

* Data based on sample and subject to sampling error

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics, Table DP-4, 2000

 

Household Type and Relationship

Information on household type and relationship was presented in Chapter 2 (see Table
 2-7). This information shows that the number of Family households, especially
 married-couple families, has decreased over the past decade. At the same time, the
number of non-family households has increased. Over 20 percent of the City’s
households in 2000 consisted of an elderly (65 years of age or older) person living
alone.

The number of people living in a household, as well as the age and relationship of
 those people, all influence the type of housing needed in a community. The general
trend across the United States in recent years has been to build larger and larger homes,
often with multiple levels and on large lots. At the same time, the population is aging
and households are getting smaller.

Household Size

TABLE 6-6

Persons Per Household, Selected Areas, 1990-2000

Area

Persons Per Household

1990

2000

City of Crystal Falls

2.24

2.13

Crystal Falls Township

2.31

2.18

City of Iron River

2.10

2.05

Iron County

2.27

2.19

State of Michigan

2.66

2.56

The number of persons in a household has
 been decreasing in this country over the
past several decades, and the City of Crystal
 Falls is no exception, as shown in Table 6-6.
 The average household in the City now
contains slightly more than two people.
Several factors contribute to this trend,
including families having fewer children,
 an increase in the number of single parent
families, and increasing numbers of elderly
residents living alone and staying in their
own homes.

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Profile of General

Demographic Characteristics: 2000, DP-1 and 1990, DP-1

Housing Values and Rents

In 2000 the Census reported that the median housing value in the City of Crystal Falls
was $46,500. This figure was close to the County-wide median value of $47,500, but
was much lower than the median value of $68,300 reported for Crystal Falls Township.
These comparisons are presented in Table 6-7, which also compares the median gross
rent as reported by the 2000 Census. The median housing value was much lower than
 the statewide value of $115,600.

TABLE 6-7

Median Housing Values and Rents, Selected Areas, 2000

Area

Median Housing Value

Median Gross Rent

City of Crystal Falls

$46,500

$341

Crystal Falls Township

68,300

353

City of Iron River

43,100

345

Iron County

47,500

346

State of Michigan

115,600

546

Gross rent refers to the total cost of
rent plus basic utilities. This is
differentiated from contract rent,
which is used elsewhere in the
Census and represents only the
actual cash rent paid or (in the case
of vacant units) the rent asked for a
unit. In the City of Crystal Falls the
 median gross rent was $341, lower
 than the County median and significantly
 below the state median of $546.

 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000, SF-3

 

 

Gross rent refers to the total cost of rent plus basic utilities. This is differentiated from
contract rent, which is used elsewhere in the Census and represents only the actual cash
 rent paid or (in the case of vacant units) the rent asked for a unit. In the City of Crystal
 Falls the median gross rent was $341, lower than the County median and significantly
below the state median of $546.

 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000, SF-3

It should be noted that the information on housing values and rents is based upon
 residents' answers to questions on the Census form, not from landlords or records
of real estate transactions. Some residents who have not been involved in buying or
selling property in many

years may tend to underestimate the value of their home, while others may
overestimate. In the case of contract rent, utilities or other costs may be included
in some instances but not in others. Since these errors tend to occur throughout all
 communities, however, there is still value in comparing the data across several areas.

6.3 Financial Characteristics

As discussed in Chapter 3, median incomes in local areas are significantly lower than
statewide averages. While this can be offset somewhat by lower housing costs locally,
the ability of local households to afford housing is impacted by these lower incomes.

A common method used to gauge the affordability of a community’s housing stock is
the percentage of income spent on housing related expenses. A general rule of thumb
is that housing costs (mortgage, taxes, etc.) should consume no more than 25 to 30
percent of gross household income. Although the census data is limited, Tables 6-13
and 6-14 show higher percentages of income directed to the cost of housing from
households with lower incomes. For example, among those households with the
lowest income (under $10,000), 68 percent of renters and 73 percent of homeowners
spent 30 percent or more of their income for housing costs. Among those households
 with incomes from $10,000 to $19,999, 37 percent of renters and 30 percent of
 homeowners spent 30 percent or more on housing. Renter households with annual
 incomes over $20,000 all indicated they spent less than 30 percent of their income
for housing, and very few homeowners with incomes over $20,000 spent 30 percent
or more on housing. Overall, about 17 percent of The City’s households spent more
 than 30 percent of their income for housing costs, and this amount was
disproportionately skewed towards the lower income groups. It can also be seen,
in examining Tables 6-12 and 6-13 that the incomes of home-owning households tend
to be more evenly distributed in the higher income groups, while renter households,
 at least in the City of Crystal Falls, are generally in the lower income brackets.

 

 

TABLE 6-8

Selected Monthly Gross Rent as a Percentage of Household Income, City of Crystal Falls, 1999

Household Income

< 20%

20 - 24%

25 - 29%

30 - 34%

> 34%

Total

< $10,000

3

4

11

11

27

56

$10,000 to $19,999

9

6

14

4

13

46

$20,000 to $34,999

29

7

3

0

0

39

$35,000 to $49,999

13

0

0

0

0

13

$50,000 or more

7

0

0

0

0

7

Total

61

17

28

15

40

161

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000, Table H-97

TABLE 6-9

Selected Monthly Owner Cost as a Percentage of Household Income, City of Crystal Falls, 1999

Household Income

< 20%

20 - 24%

25 - 29%

30 - 34%

> 34%

Total

< $10,000

0

4

5

4

20

33

$10,000 to $19,999

47

14

10

9

22

102

$20,000 to $34,999

143

31

16

4

6

200

$35,000 to $49,999

118

5

10

2

2

137

$50,000 or more

95

2

2

0

0

99

Total

403

56

43

19

50

571

6.4 Home Heating Fuel

Natural gas is by far the most common means of heating the City’s housing, according
to the 2000 Census. Over 90 percent of the City’s housing units were heated in this
manner, reflecting the availability of gas throughout the City as well as its cost
efficiency. Electricity, fuel oil and bottled gas followed in popularity. Countywide,
natural gas was used in less than 60 percent of occupied households, reflecting the
 fact that this fuel is primarily available in relatively urban areas. Bottled gas, fuel oil,
 and wood were more commonly used in the County as a whole than in the City or in
 the state overall, again reflecting the rural nature of the area and the availability of
these fuels.

TABLE 6-10

Heating Fuel for Occupied Housing Units, Selected Areas, 2000

 

Source

City of Crystal Falls

Iron County

State of Michigan

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Utility Gas

723

90.1

3,340

58.1

2,961,242

78.2

Bottled, Tank or LP Gas

21

2.6

1,167

20.3

357,502

9.4

Electricity

19

2.4

204

3.5

251,208

6.6

Fuel Oil, Kerosene, etc.

23

2.9

538

9.4

130,933

3.5

Coal or Coke

0

0.0

0

0.0

659

--

Wood

14

1.7

487

8.5

54,608

1.4

Solar Energy

0

0.0

0

--

641

--

Other Fuel

2

0.2

12

0.2

18,413

0.5

No Fuel

0

0.0

0

0.0

10,455

0.3

Total Units

802

100.0

5,748

100.0

3,785,661

100.0

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Profile of Selected Housing Characteristics: 2000, DP-4

6.5 Building Permits

Before beginning construction of a new residential or commercial building, placement
 of a mobile home, or remodeling or alteration of an existing structure, a building
permit is required. These permits are obtained from Iron County, which keeps a record
of the number of permits issued. This information is valuable in assessing where
building activity is taking place in the County, and provides insight into development
patterns.

Table 6-11 summarizes building permit information for the local units in Iron County
over the past five years. This information shows that relatively few building permits
for new residential homes have been issued in recent years. Of the 52 permits for new
 residences in Iron County in 2001, and 55 in 2002, only one each year was issued in
Crystal Falls. Only five permits for new residential homes were issued in the past five
 years in the City. By contrast, Crystal Falls Township alone accounted for just over 22
percent of new residential permits over the past five years, with a total of 57 permits
for new construction.

TABLE 6-11

Residential Building Permits, Iron County, 1998-2002

Area

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

New

MH

Remodel

New

MH

Remodel

New

MH

Remodel

New

MH

Remodel

New

MH

Remodel

City of Crystal Falls

2

0

12

1

0

5

0

0

10

1

0

6

1

0

9

Bates Township

10

1

12

5

2

8

8

1

16

6

2

10

10

5

0

City of Caspian

0

1

5

0

0

2

0

0

4

2

0

6

1

1

3

Crystal Falls Township

12

1

23

14

2

14

10

4

18

9

2

16

12

5

14

Hematite Township

1

0

0

3

0

2

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

Iron River Township

13

9

11

9

1

12

11

5

10

8

2

11

0

1

6

City of Iron River

3

0

10

1

1

4

1

0

9

2

1

19

0

0

13

Mansfield Township

0

0

4

0

2

1

3

2

4

0

2

5

4

3

3

Mastodon Township

3

2

7

4

8

6

4

0

7

12

2

12

14

10

6

City of Stambaugh *

0

1

8

1

0

6

0

0

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

Stambaugh Township

10

2

20

6

1

21

10

4

5

11

3

14

13

12

12

Alpha

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

1

2

1

0

1

0

0

1

Iron County Total

52

14

100

55

38

65

MH – Mobile Home

New – New Residential Construction

Remodel – Residential Remodeling/Alteration

* City of Stambaugh permits combined with City of Iron River in 2001 and 2002

County-wide, 254 permits for new homes were issued between 1998 and 2002. Of these,
 nearly 75 percent were in Crystal Falls, Bates, Iron River and Stambaugh townships.
 This is further indication of the trend, also discussed elsewhere in this plan, of
population growth in the townships adjacent to urban areas. Permits for placement
of mobile homes were also much more numerous in these townships. No permits
 were issued for mobile homes in the City of Crystal Falls, consistent with the current
 zoning ordinance, which does not permit mobile homes within the City.

Building permits for remodeling are issued at a much higher rates than those for new
construction. Remodeling can range from relatively simple projects such as the addition
 of a deck to extensive remodeling that increases the living area of an existing home.
In any case it generally indicates an effort on the part of the homeowner to maintain
and improve the residential property. The disparity between remodeling permits is
not as great between the cities and townships, although Crystal Falls Township, with
a similar population, had 85 remodeling permits issued over the past five years
 compared to 42 in the City of Crystal Falls.

 

6.6 Public Housing Development

The Iron County Housing Commission provides subsidized housing in Iron County.
Subsidized housing is in the form of Section 8 vouchers or housing directly provided
by the Housing Commission. In the case of vouchers, the person holding the voucher
finds housing provided by a landlord in the County, and the voucher provides a
subsidy for the rental cost. In the City of Crystal Falls, the Housing Commission also
 owns 14 single-family homes and the Pleasant Valley apartment complex, providing
 rental housing directly to residents. The single-family homes are designed to
accommodate families, while the Pleasant Valley Apartments are primarily intended
for senior citizens. All 43 units in the apartment complex are 1-bedroom units, and
 non-seniors are accommodated when there is a need and units are available.

6.7 Housing Assistance Programs

Housing rehabilitation, weatherization (insulating, caulking, window replacement, etc.)
and home purchasing assistance programs are provided through the Dickinson-Iron
Community Service Agency. Applicants must meet established eligibility guidelines
 to qualify. These programs are utilized by residents of both Iron and Dickinson
counties, including residents of the City of Crystal Falls. The programs are funded
by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and are typically available
 on the County level rather than in individual communities. These programs offer
residents assistance in purchasing and/or rehabilitating homes. In addition to
providing residents with safer and more comfortable living conditions, the programs
help to maintain the aging housing stock in the area, in situations where homeowners
 may otherwise be unable to prevent deterioration.

 

7.0 TRANSPORTATION

7.1 Introduction

An adequate transportation system is necessary to move into, out of, and within a
 community. This transportation system plays a key role in the development of the
local economy, land use patterns, and the relationship of communities to each other.

The location of land-based transportation systems, such as roads and railroads, is
 heavily influenced by physical barriers like rivers, lakes, swamps and rugged terrain.
Therefore, these transportation routes generally were established where physical
features offered the least resistance. Conversely, rivers and lakes themselves have
 proven vital to waterborne commerce, as in the case of the shipping routes on the
Great Lakes, or the use of rivers to float logs to sawmills and ports.

This section of the plan presents an inventory of the existing transportation facilities
which serve the City of Crystal Falls, and discusses general transportation issues and
needs specific to the local area.

7.2 Road System

Of the entire infrastructure which serves the needs of a community, local roads and
streets probably draw the most attention from residents, and in some cases from
visitors as well. All residents use roads, either as drivers of vehicles or as passengers,
or depend on them for the transport of good needed for daily life. Even children too
young to drive use roads for recreational activities such as bicycling, rollerblading, etc.
 Unlike underground infrastructure such as water and sewer lines, which are equally
 vital to a community, roads are highly visible, and deteriorated roads and bridges are
readily observed by all who travel them

Michigan Act 51 of 1951 requires that all counties, incorporated cities, and villages
establish and maintain road systems under their jurisdiction, as distinct from state
jurisdiction. Counties, cities and villages receive approximately 61 percent of the
funding allocated through Act 51 for local roads. State highways under the jurisdiction
of the Michigan Department of Transportation, known as state trunklines, receive the
 remaining 39 percent.

State Trunkline Highways: The state trunkline system includes state and federal
highways that connect communities to other areas within the same county, state and
other states. These roadways provide the highest level of traffic mobility for the
traveling public. While the state trunkline system carries more than half the total
 statewide traffic, it makes up only eight percent of total Michigan road miles. State
and federal highways are designed by the prefixes "M" and "U.S." respectively.

Three state trunklines serve the City of Crystal Falls. U.S. Highway 2 connects Crystal
Falls with St. Ignace to the east and Wisconsin to the west, continuing on west as far as
the Pacific coast. U.S. Highway 141 runs concurrently with U.S. Highway 2 as it enters
the city from the south, but then continues northward to intersect with M-28 and U.S. 41.
 U.S. 141 provides connections to Houghton to the north and to Green Bay and points
beyond to the south. Finally, M-69 enters the city from the east, forming Superior
Avenue until it terminates at the intersection with U.S. 2/141 at South 5th street. M-69
 provides the most direct access from Escanaba. This state trunkline network offers
good access to more urban areas, although at some distance.

Act 51 requires that MDOT bear all maintenance costs consistent with department
 standards and specifications for all state highways including those within incorporated
communities. In a city the size of Crystal Falls, no cost sharing at the local level is
required.

County Road System: County roads are classified as primary and local. Local roads
 comprise the most miles in the county system, but have the lowest level of traffic.
 Road funding is based on the mileage of each road system. Roads within the City are
not included in the county system; however, city streets often continue outside
corporate limits as county roads, providing further access to surrounding areas. There
are 269.9 miles of primary roads and 364.0 miles of local roads in Iron County.

Major Street System: A system of major streets in each incorporated city or village is
approved by the state highway commission pursuant to P.A. 51. Major streets are
 selected by the city or village governing body on the basis of greatest general
importance to the city or village. Streets may be added or deleted from the system
subject to approval of the state highway commissioner.

Local Street System: City or village roads, exclusive of state trunklines, county roads
 and those included in the major street system, make up the local street system. The
process of approval, additions and deletions is the same as with other road system
designations.

7.3 Private Roads

While most development takes place in areas already served by public roads and
streets, or by new roads added to the public road system, at times developers prefer to
retain roads in private ownership. The maintenance of these roads (snow plowing,
 grading, dust control, drainage ditch maintenance, etc.) is the responsibility of the
residents living along these roads, who usually either accomplish these tasks on their
own or through a contract agreement with a private entity. County road commissions
and municipal street departments generally will not provide any maintenance service
to privately owned roads.

The presence of private roads may affect some of the services provided to the residents
 living along these roads, such as fire protection and emergency services. Access for fire
 and emergency vehicles on private roads can be difficult, especially if the roads are
badly maintained, narrow, and/or inadequately marked and signed. As further
development occurs along private roads, the possibility of conflicts between residents
 living along these roads and the community in which they live is more likely. To
remedy these problems in the future, a community can put stipulations in its zoning
ordinance or land division ordinance that require private roads serving new residential
 areas to conform to certain dimensional and maintenance standards. Some
communities in Michigan have adopted private road ordinances which stipulate
when roads must be deeded to the public, and/or the standards to which private
roads must be built. It is also possible to prohibit subdivision and development of
property unless the resulting parcels have direct access to public roads.

7.4 National Functional Classification

The National Functional Classification system is a planning tool developed by the
Federal Highway Administration and used by federal, state and local transportation
agencies. Under this system, streets and roads are classified according to the level of
mobility and access to property. Roads that provide the greatest mobility are classified
as principal arterials, followed by minor arterials, major collectors, and minor collectors.
 Local roads provide the greatest access to property, but are typically not designed to
provide a high degree of mobility. The placement of roads into these categories is
determined by the relationship to traffic patterns, land use, land access needs, and
traffic volumes. This federal functional classification system is designed for larger-scale
planning, and also determines eligibility for certain types of federal funding for
transportation improvements.

Principal Arterial: The main function of a principal arterial road is to move traffic over
medium distance quickly, safely, and efficiently. Often the movement is between
regions or major economic centers. Superior Avenue (M-69), and U. S. Highways 2
and 141 are all principal arterials.

Minor Arterial: Roads within this classification move traffic over medium distances
within a community or region in a moderate to quick manner. They distribute traffic
between collector roads and principal arterials.

Collector Roads: A collector road provides access between residential neighborhood
and commercial/industrial areas. Its function is to provide a more general service, e.g.,
area-to-area rather than point-to-point. A collector usually serves medium trip lengths
between neighborhoods on moderate to low traffic routes at moderate speeds and
distributes traffic between local and arterial roads. Usually, this involves trips from
home to places of work, worship, education and where business and commerce are
conducted.

Rural Local Roads: The predominant function of roads in this classification is to
 provide direct access to adjacent land uses. A local road serves as the end for most
trips within a community. Local roads include all streets not classified as arterials or
collectors.

Local roads should be designed to move traffic from an individual lot to collector
streets which in turn serve areas of business, commerce, and employment. Local roads
should not be designed or located in such a manner that they would or might be
utilized by through traffic. This is an especially important consideration with regard
to new development in a community. Care should be taken not to allow development
to occur in such a way as local roads become used as collectors, carrying more traffic
than the roads or the neighborhoods they serve were intended to handle.

7.5 Financing

Revenues collected from fuel taxes and motor vehicle registration fees are distributed
to county road commissions, cities, and villages by formula. This is done through the
 Michigan Transportation Fund which was established under P.A. 51 of 1951. Road
classification, road mileage, and population are factored into the formula. A percentage
of the funding is reserved for engineering, snow removal and urban roads.

The Act 51 funding formula takes into consideration population, road mileage, and an
MDOT distribution factor. The Act 51 formula has been reviewed by the Legislature in
recent years, and while no changes have yet been made, the future will probably bring
changes to the funding formula. As long as population remains a factor in the formula,
the City will continue to receive decreased funding if the population continues to
 decline in future decades.

 

Michigan Transportation Fund: Revenues are distributed to cities, counties and villages
 form this fund to assist in completing road improvements, as well as snow removal and
 other maintenance activities.

Michigan Transportation Economic Development Fund: This fund was established in
1987 "to enhance the ability of the state to compete in an international economy, to serve
 as a catalyst for economic growth of the state, and to improve the quality of life in the
state." Investing in highway, road and street projects necessary to support economic
expansion is the purpose of the TEDF. The six funding categories of the TEDF are as
 follows:

Category A - Economic Development Road Projects

Category B - State Trunkline Takeover (no longer funded)

Category C - Urban Congestion Relief

Category D - Secondary All-Season Road System

Category E - Forest Road

Category F - Cities in Rural Counties

Category A funding is awarded on a case-by-case project for appropriate economic
development projects. Iron County is not eligible for Category C, leaving Categories D,
E and F as other possible sources of funds for transportation projects. The revenue
source for the TEDF includes state fees for license plates and driver licenses, except
 category C and D funds, where 55 percent of the revenue source comes from federal
 TEA-21 funds.

Other: Federal assistance for state highways is supported mainly through motor fuel
taxes. Construction and repair costs associated with state trunkline systems are
generated from these taxes. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of
1991, and its reauthorization as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(TEA-21), have resulted in allocation changes that have benefited Michigan. Under
the concept of "intermodalism", transportation planning is supposed to engender
cooperation among the different transportation modes that interconnect at shared
 hubs, or intermodals.

Ten percent of each state’s Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding is set aside
for transportation enhancement projects. Enhancement activities are meant to be such
things as landscaping, bicycle paths, historic preservation, storm water runoff
mitigation and other quality-of-life projects. A formal process of application has been
established by the Michigan Department of Transportation to afford local and state
jurisdictions an opportunity to pursue this funding.

7.6 Traffic Volume

Despite increasing fuel prices in recent years, the number of automobiles licensed
 and the number of miles driven throughout the U.S. continues to increase. Nationally,
 two-car households increased from 10 million in 1960 to 34 million in 1990. In the
Crystal Falls area, as in cities all around the country, new residential development is
occurring most frequently in the suburbs and beyond. These households rely more
 on the automobile due to their location away from stores, schools, places of
employment, etc. No longer do families live within walking distance of their
 workplace, church, school, and neighborhood grocery store, as was common in
the early 20th Century.

The highway system in Michigan grew rapidly after the advent of the automobile,
but slowed by 1960. After 1960, when there were 110,656 miles of state, county, city
and village roads and streets in the state, less than 10,000 miles of new road have
 been added to the system. Since 1990 only about 2,000 new miles were added,
bringing the total road mileage in Michigan to 120,256 miles in 2001. However, while
 the miles of road have not increased greatly, the number of miles traveled have
increased significantly, reflecting our increasing reliance on the automobile. In 1960,
highway travel was estimated at 33.1 billion miles per year. By 1980 the figure had
nearly doubled, to 61.5 billion. In 2001, it is estimated that vehicle travel stood at 96.6
 billion miles, an increase of nearly 200 percent. In order to accommodate this increased
 traffic, the emphasis has shifted from building new roads to maintaining and
 increasing the capacity of existing roads.

The number of vehicles registered also reflects the increasing popularity of the
 automobile. In fiscal year 2001-02, the State of Michigan reports that 7,465 passenger
 vehicles were registered in Iron County. Iron County contains 10,808 people aged 16
and over, representing the potential number of licensed drivers. Considering that some
of these individuals may not drive because of age, physical disabilities, etc., and that
 many drivers under the age of 18 do not have a vehicle for their own use, this is nearly
 one vehicle per licensed driver. It is becoming the norm for every household to have
more than one vehicle, and many have more than two. In addition to the impact on the
highway system, this is reflected in the housing market, as homes are commonly being
 built with garages that accommodate three or more cars.

Traffic counting devices are used by the Michigan Department of Transportation to
 record volumes at set points along state trunklines. Table 7-1 offers comparisons of
 MDOT traffic volume data from 1987 to 2000, using counters placed on state trunklines
 in the vicinity of Crystal Falls. The traffic volumes given are in the form of Average
 Annual Daily Traffic, or AADT. It should be noted that construction projects which
 detour traffic or cause travelers to avoid certain roads in a given construction season
may cause fluctuations in the AADT in a given year.

TABLE 7-1

Average Annual Daily Traffic, Crystal Falls Area, 1987-2000

Year

Traffic Counter Location

U.S. 141 N. of Crystal Falls

U.S. 2 W. in Crystal Falls

U.S. 2 approx. 5 mi. W. of Crystal Falls

U.S. 2 & 141 approx. 5 mi. S. of Crystal Falls

M-69 just W. of Crystal Falls

M-69 approx. approx. 6 miles E. of Crystal Falls

1987

1,500

7,500

3,500

2,600

2,200

1,500

1988

1,300

6,600

2,900

2,000

3,700

1,300

1989

2,000

7,300

2,800

2,500

1,100

1,100

1990

800

6,600

3,900

2,500

1,500

1,500

1991

2,500

7,800

3,000

2,400

2,300

1,400

1992

1,900

7,700

4,300

3,100

2,300

1,400

1993

1,200

6,900

4,400

3,900

4,000

1,300

1994

1,100

5,000

2,500

2,700

1,800

1,800

1995

1,200

6,900

4,100

2,700

2,700

1,500

1996

1,700

6,600

4,400

2,500

--

1,600

1997

2,600

6,500

4,200

2,500

--

1,700

1998

2,700

8,200

4,000

2,400

--

1,700

1999

3,300

6,300

4,000

2,600

--

3,000

2000

3,400

6,300

4,000

2,600

--

3,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Michigan Department of Transportation for years cited.

These traffic counts indicate that traffic on state trunklines in the area has been
generally increasing over the years. While some counters show that traffic was
higher in a given year, all but one location showed higher traffic levels in 2000
 than in 1990. The extremely low figure for U.S. 141 north of the city in 1990 may
be a result of counter failure, as this figure seems too low to be the result of a
 construction project.

7.7 Transportation Planning and Improvements

Planning for transportation improvements takes place at both the state and local level.
The Michigan Department of Transportation maintains a statewide long-range
 transportation plan, and holds hearings around the state to gather input regarding
residents’ needs and desires. In addition to the long-range plan, MDOT prepares a
 five-year program for road improvements statewide. Improvements such as the
replacement of the Paint River Bridge in Crystal Falls are shown on the five-year plan,
which allows the state to budget for the various phases of each improvement. The
 various phases, such as right-of-way acquisition, design, and construction, are
scheduled over a multi-year period so as to keep these large projects on track.

Local planning efforts consist of the City’s annual prioritizing of street improvement
projects, as well as small urban area task force meetings to plan projects for Category
F funding. Some local planning efforts address specific issues, and may receive
support from MDOT, as in the case of corridor studies and access management plans.

Access management refers to long-term planning for access to highway corridors, in
order to preserve the long-term capacity of the roadway , improve safety, and maintain
accessibility. Access management examines the spacing and location of driveways,
 access roads and intersections, and access management plans can recommend such
measures as driveway consolidations, front or rear access roads, turn lanes,
intersection realignments, addition or removal of traffic control devices, and other
measures. Implementation can involve use of zoning and subdivision control
ordinances, private road ordinances, Road Commission standards for subdivision
design, and use of local review boards in granting driveway permits. Access
management plans are generally developed cooperatively by local units of government
 within a specific corridor area, with technical assistance from MDOT. Local committees
 enter into a Memorandum of Understanding to insure commitment to the planning
process and implementation, and a consultant is usually retained to develop the actual
 plan by working closely with MDOT and the corridor group. At this time these
efforts are usually funded by MDOT.

7.8 Public Transportation

Transportation for elderly and handicapped persons is provided by the Dickinson-Iron
 Community Services Agency on a demand-response basis. No public transportation
system exists in the county. There is no taxi service available in Crystal Falls. This lack
of public transportation service means that those in need of transportation must rely
 on friends, relatives and neighbors.

7.9 Rail Service

Rail service was critical to the growth and development of the Upper Peninsula.
Railroads transported logs and iron ore from inland locations to ports on the Great
Lakes, where they could be shipped to markets elsewhere. In turn, the railroads also
 brought in goods that were purchased elsewhere. Many small communities were
 founded as a result of the extension of a rail spur to a mine or logging camp, and
most of these communities faded away when the railroads were gone. Larger
communities formerly had a network of rail lines extending throughout the community;
 now there is usually only one rail line in the community, and old tracks have been
abandoned and removed.

Crystal Falls no longer has railroad service within the city. Most of the active rail lines
in the Upper Peninsula are owned and operated by Canadian National, which acquired
 the Wisconsin Central Ltd. Railroad in 2001. The rail line from Amasa to Sagola, owned
 by CN, is the closest active rail line to the City. This line cuts across Crystal Falls
 Township, but does not enter the city.

While the importance of rail transportation has declined in recent years in the U.S., it
remains a critical form of transportation in many areas. The presence of rail service
could be a potential advantage in attracting new industry to the area, if a spur could
be extended to the industrial park.

7.10 Air Transportation

The nearest airport providing commercial and charter passenger service is the Ford
Airport in Kingsford, a distance of about 30 miles. Midwest Connect provides daily
service to Milwaukee, where connections to other cities on Midwest Express or other
airlines can be made. Ford Airport is served primarily by 19-passenger turboprop
aircraft. Superior Aviation provides charter service as well as a daily roundtrip flight to
 Lansing.

Other airports offering a greater selection of airlines and destinations are located at a
further distance. The Marquette County Airport, located at the former KI Sawyer Air
Force Base near Gwinn is served by American Eagle, Northwest and Midwest Connect,
and is about 80 miles away. Green Bay is served by several airlines with both jet and
turboprop service, and is located about 100 miles from Crystal Falls. Passenger service
is also available at Escanaba, about 80 miles away, which is served by Midwest Connect
 with service to Milwaukee.

7.11 Non-motorized Transportation Facilities

In recent years, the construction of non-motorized facilities has increased in many
areas in response to public interest. Walking and bicycling are among the top five
 individual exercise activities according to a national survey (walking is number one).
Alternate modes of transportation are encouraged and made safer by facilities such as
 bike lanes and walking paths.

Sidewalks have connected residents to their neighborhoods, schools, stores and
workplaces for many years. However, as automobile ownership and use have
increased, and residential development has shifted to the suburbs, sidewalks are
often not constructed in newer residential developments. While it can be argued
that sidewalks are no longer needed in light of the automobile-oriented lifestyle
that has become common, proponents of sidewalks argue that sidewalks and bike
 paths help promote a sense of neighborhood and community, as well as potentially
reduce traffic congestion. While residents may not always use sidewalks when they
are present, in the absence of sidewalks people will either drive to where they need
to go or use the street as they would a sidewalk. Where there are no sidewalks,
 children and adults walk and ride bicycles, skateboards and in-line skates in the
streets, creating a potential hazard by mixing vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The
 increase in size of residential lots in new developments has also been a factor in
 eliminating sidewalks, as the cost per lot increases as lots become wider.

The recently constructed Riverwalk connects Lincoln Park near M-69 with the Paint
River. The Riverwalk consists of boardwalk and concrete pathway, and offers a
fishing pier, benches, and the natural environment of the river.

8.0 FUTURE LAND USE

8.1 Introduction

The City of Crystal Falls Planning Commission has examined the background
information presented in the preceding chapters of this plan, and has formulated
 goals and objectives, which are discussed in Chapter 9. As a final step in the
development of this Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission has developed
 recommendations for future land use in the city, which are based on the physical
capability of the land, the needs of the community, and the goals for the future
 growth and development of the city. These future land use recommendations can
 serve as a guideline for future zoning decisions, and if implemented, will result in
orderly growth in the community.

8.2 Future Residential Development

As evidenced by the number and type of building permits issued in recent years,
Crystal Falls lags behind the surrounding townships in the number of permits issued
for new construction. Most of the new housing being built in Iron County is being built
 in the townships, where large lots and attractive homesites are available. The platted
 areas in the cities, including Crystal Falls, are largely built up, and where lots are
available they are too small to accommodate today’s large homes with two- or three-car
garages, etc. If areas in the city were available for residential development, offering
large, attractive lots, local residents would have the option of building the type of
home they desire in the city.

There are several areas in the city which are potentially suitable for residential
development. In the northeastern corner of the city, northwest of Runkle Lake Park,
 lies a parcel which could offer attractive homesites. Municipal utilities are available
 nearby, and could be extended. Areas along the Paint River, including some river
frontage and other areas with views of the river, could be developed for upscale
residential use. Some of this property along the river is city-owned, while other areas
 are owned by private individuals. There may also be areas near the ski hill which
could support residential development as well. All of these areas are recommended
for residential use; the question yet to be answered is whether the city would in some
 or all cases wish to develop the properties, or if development by a private developer
 would be preferred. Both options offer advantages and disadvantages. A private
developer would assume the responsibility of extending infrastructure throughout
the development, while development by the city would offer a greater level of control
over the type and level of development which would take place. Initially, the first step
would be to encourage residential development.

8.3 Future Recreational Development

The city owns 160 acres near the ski hill, some of which is in Crystal Falls Township.
This area offers great potential for recreational development to complement the ski
hill, such as cross-country ski trails, biking and hiking trails, etc. Trails and greenways
to connect this area to the Riverwalk, the golf course, and Runkle Lake Park are also
envisioned, offering both residents and visitors the opportunity for non-motorized
access throughout the community.

The first step in developing additional recreational opportunities which take advantage
 of the natural beauty of the area would be to include these potential improvements in
the next revision of the 5-year recreation plan, and seek funding for completion of the
 projects.

8.4 Other Land Use Recommendations

The commercial areas in Crystal Falls are essentially utilized. However, the
forthcoming move of the Crystal Manor residents and availability of the Crystal
Manor building for future development presents an opportunity for the community.
The Iron County EDC has received funding and is beginning a downtown marketing
study, which will include recommendations for reuse of the Crystal Manor building as
well as recommendations for marketing and developing the downtown area. These
recommendations should be evaluated and implemented.

Finally, the irregular corporate boundaries of the city should be reviewed.

 

9.0 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

9.1 Introduction

Thus far in this document, background information in a variety of areas has been
analyzed and discussed. This provides a useful source of information for local
officials and others wanting information about the community, but does not set
forth a plan of action for the future of the City. In order to address issues or take
advantage of opportunities that may have been identified during the planning
process, it is necessary that this plan define goals and objectives that can be used
 to guide future growth and development.

The final stage of the planning process, which is implementation of the plan, begins
 once the goals and objectives have been defined. The first step in plan implementation
 is the adoption of this plan in accordance with the procedures set forth in the
 Municipal Planning Act, Act 285 of 1931, as amended.

The implementation process continues through adherence to the goals and objectives
 set forth in the plan. After the plan is adopted, however, it is useful to keep in mind
that the goals and objectives are not "cast in concrete," and should be adapted as
changing conditions warrant. In addition, recent amendments to the state enabling
acts for planning in Michigan require review of the plan every five years. While this
 review may not result in significant revisions, it may trigger a complete review,
particularly if new information is available, such as a new decennial census. Significant
changes in the area economy or population may also trigger a plan revision. The plan
 must remain flexible enough to respond to changing needs and conditions, while still
 providing a strong guiding mechanism for future development. City staff, elected
officials, planning commission members and others should use this plan routinely as
a guide in future decision making.

In order to aid in understanding the goals and objectives that follow, it is helpful to
review the definitions of this items, as follows:

Goal: A broad statement of a desired future condition, the generalized end toward
which all efforts are directed. Goals are often stated in terms of fulfilling broad public
needs, or alleviating major problems. Goals are generally difficult to measure and are
 idealistic.

Objective: A specific, measurable end derived from a related goal, often to be
accomplished within a specific time. When an objective is accomplished, it should
represent significant and measurable progress toward a goal.

9.2 Goals and Objectives

The following goals and objectives have been articulated by the Crystal Falls Planning
 Commission:

Goal: Increase jobs and investment within the City of Crystal Falls.

Objectives: Develop and implement a business retention program that will actively
work to keep existing firms in the City. This program could be accomplished
cooperatively with the Iron County Economic Development Corporation, and should
 also include interaction with Michigan Economic Development Corporation staff.
Meetings with local firms to explore their needs and concerns should be a centerpiece
of this program.

Implement recommendations of the Downtown Marketing Study in order to reutilize
 and fill vacant spaces in the downtown area and make the downtown more attractive
 and vibrant. Reuse of the Crystal Manor facility in accordance with the study
recommendations is a key part of accomplishing this objective.

Capitalize on recent and upcoming improvements to the community, such as the
 Riverwalk and downtown Streetscape, in marketing efforts for Crystal Falls.

Market the industrial park and attract new and expanding firms to the facility. Utilize
the Renaissance Zone and other incentives to attract firms to locate in the park.

Goal: Operate all municipal facilities and services in compliance with applicable
state and federal standards, and in the most efficient manner possible.

Objectives: Periodically review all municipal systems (water, wastewater, electric,
cable, etc.) with regard to both the physical condition of the infrastructure and
organizational issues. This review could be done internally or with the use of a
consultant, depending on the complexity of the system and other factors.

Participate in organizations which provide information and ideas that can help the
 City operate more efficiently. Network with officials in other communities to share
 ideas.

Goal: Encourage the development of new single-family homes in the City, and

maintain/improve current residential areas.

Objectives: Identify City-owned properties suitable for residential development and
plat subdivisions that offer attractive homesites for new residents.

Review the Zoning Ordinance and amend if necessary to encourage maintenance of
existing residential neighborhoods and development of new ones in suitable areas.

Review the blight ordinance, amend if necessary, and enforce ordinance as needed to
encourage repair or removal of deteriorated structures.

 

Extend municipal infrastructure to areas unserved by infrastructure but suitable for
development. Costs for such infrastructure would preferably be covered by the developer.

Utilize the Zoning Ordinance and other local regulations to encourage consistency and
connectivity between old and new neighborhoods, e.g. by discouraging lengthy
cul-de-sac streets and encouraging extending the grid street system into new
 development.

Goal: Maintain and improve the parks and recreational facilities in the City of Crystal
 Falls for the benefit of residents and visitors.

Objectives: Periodically update the Five-Year Recreation Plan in accordance with
 MDNR guidelines to maintain eligibility for MDNR grant funds.

Complete the projects identified in the Recreation Plan capital improvement schedule.

Connect parks and other attraction by extending the Riverwalk and constructing
additional pathways to the Crystella Ski Hill, Runkle Lake Park, etc.

Goal: Maintain and improve the transportation network in the City to enhance traffic
 flow and provide for public safety.

Objectives: Investigate the formation of a County transit authority; work cooperatively
with Iron County, other local units of government, MDOT, WUPPDR and others to
investigate ways to provide more public transportation to local residents.

Capitalize on Crystal Falls’ location at the confluence of three state trunklines as an
attraction for business and industry as well as tourists.

Continue to work with MDOT to support construction of improvements to the state
 trunkline system as well as improvements to City streets and funding of potential
 transportation enhancement projects.

Provide opportunities for non-motorized transportation by extending pathways that
link various attractions within the city, such as the ski hill, Runkle Lake Park, etc.

Incorporate access management guidelines into zoning and other local regulations
as appropriate to provide a mechanism for addressing future traffic concerns.

Goal:   To preserve historical integrity and features within the City.

Objectives:   Encourage historic preservation whenever reasonable and feasible on both public and private properties.

Recognition that significant historic resources of the community are key to the area's economic refitalization and must be preserved.

Preserve the positive historic image of this community with respect to visual impacts of highway commercial development and impacts on community character.

Historic resources and residential areas must be protected from further encroachment of inappropriate commercial development.

Vacant land and existing, non-residential historic buildings along main thoroughfares should be used for development that will not negatively impact historic resources and residential character.

Appendix includes:

Pages 1 –7 of the Soil Survey of Iron County, Michigan

General Soil Map of Iron County, Michigan

The General Soil Map Units – Soil Descriptions – applicable to the City of Crystal Falls.

Detailed Soil Map of Iron County, Michigan

Detailed Soil Map Units applicable to the City of Crystal Falls

Iron County Soil Survey Tables – applicable to the City of Crystal Falls:

Table 1 – Temperature and Precipitation

Table 2 – Freeze Dates in Spring and Fall

Table 3 – Growing Season

Table 5 – Prime Farmland

Table 10 – Windbreaks and Environmental Plantings

Table 11 – Recreational Development

Table 12 – Wildlife Habitat

Table 13 – Building Site Development

Table 14 – Sanitary Facilities

Table 15 – Construction Materials

Table 17 – Engineering Index Properties

Table 18 – Physical and Chemical Properties of the Soils

Table 19 – Soil and Water Features

Table 20 – Classification of the Soils

A printed copy of the Appendix to the City of Crystal Falls Comprehensive Plan is available upon request.