2022 in Review: Upper Michigan’s economy

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 10:04 PM EST
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It was a year of economic developments as Upper Michigan continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Iron Mountain, the Continental Cup returned to Pine Mountain thanks to major investments.

And in Gogebic County, the Copper Peak ski jump was awarded $20 million in state money to fund renovations.

Some notable U.P. landmarks faced challenges --

In Gogebic County, Big Snow Resort was bought by the Skinner family from Minnesota. Now named SnowRiver Mountain Resort, it closed a portion of a popular snowmobile trail. A re-routed section of trail opened earlier this month.

And in Alger County, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore saw its entry fee rise amid slowing tourism.

One of the biggest stories of the year involved the selection of a developer for the former Marquette General Hospital site. The Northern Michigan University Foundation appointed Veridea Group as the master developer. Rep. Sara Cambensy (D) raised concerns with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) about a conflict of interest with the project, but the AG’s office said there weren’t sufficient funds to open an investigation.

Also in Marquette County, Eagle Mine announced exploration efforts could extend the mine’s life a year to 2026 or 2027.

In Delta County, Escanaba’s city council approved the last purchase agreement for the jail re-development site. The area is set to become the North Shore Flats -- a mix of housing and commercial property.

More marijuana dispensaries opened in the U.P. this year and October’s Camp Cannabis marked the region’s first cannabis consumption event.

As for higher education, Michigan Tech University saw strong enrollment and was one of only three state universities to add students over the past decade.

And amid declining enrollment, Northern Michigan University’s board announced a new president in Brock Tessman.

The federal student loan debt forgiveness program went into effect this year but continues to face several legal challenges.

It wasn’t all opening up the U.P. as staffing shortages remained a concern -- from area nursing homes to schools to grocery stores to restaurants.

The CDC began tracking COVID-19 through a new measure called “community levels” as new vaccines became available to specifically target the Omicron variant.

It was also a year of new milestones --Stormy Kromer saw its first female CEO take the helm as Gina Thorsen took over for her father, Bob.

And after eight months of negotiations, Dickinson County Healthcare System announced a letter of intent to join Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Plus, the DNR implemented a new system this year, asking hunters to report their deer harvests online for the first time.