Marenisco Township passes ordinance regarding Ojibway Correctional Facility

Board of Trustees says recreational marijuana enterprises are now eligible to repurpose the property
 Courtesy: Michigan Dept. of Corrections
Courtesy: Michigan Dept. of Corrections (WLUC)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 5:33 PM EDT
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MARENISCO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Since 2018, the Ojibway Correctional Facility in Gogebic County has been closed. Now, Marenisco Township Supervisor Bruce Mahler says the prison can now be sold and repurposed.

“Legislation was passed and signed by the governor on December 31st,” he said, “that allowed that property to be transferred to the department of management and budget so that it can be appraised and sold at fair market value.”

This past week, Mahler and the township’s board of trustees unanimously voted for recreational marijuana businesses to be eligible for repurposing the facility.

The state still owns the building, which means the township receives no property taxes from it. Mahler hopes that changes soon.

“If somebody owns it, then the township can realize the property taxes off the cess value of that property.”

Mahler says there may be a bidding process once the facility goes up for sale. He also says if a marijuana shop were to be in the area, it would only be at the area of the prison to avoid any conflict with those in the main town.

“They didn’t want to see commercial marijuana sales and entities in our town,” Mahler stated. “But, they didn’t have a problem with reuse five miles out of town in an isolated area.”

Mahler believes there could be potential for new jobs if a recreational marijuana business were to be put into place. At this point, he has not heard any opposition to these potential plans. For right now, Mahler and the township play the waiting game to see what happens next.

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