(Thursday - January 21, 2021) - It's been no secret that there is a serious lack of housing in the Twin Cities area, and things do not appear to be improving in either Iron Mountain or Kingsford.

According to figures released by Iron Mountain Mayor Dale Alessandrini on Monday, there was only $706,000 worth of residential construction in Iron Mountain last year, and only $662,000 worth in Kingsford. Since there has been virtually no new construction, most of the increase would appear to come from improvements and expansion to existing properties.

Meanwhile, Iron Mountain saw a robust increase in commercial and industrial development last year, totaling $5,800,000. Commercial and industrial development in Kingsford totaled roughly three million dollars.

Many see the lack of housing as a major hindrance to economic development in the area. Neither city appears to have any plan in place for additional housing development at this time.

While there had been a plan in the works to convert Iron Mountain's former Central Middle School to an apartment complex, those plans never developed. The same thing happened with regard to converting the former Birchwood Mall to a residential complex.

Prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Dickinson Area Economic Development Authority was reporting more than 900 job openings in Dickinson County, which is more than twice the total number of individuals who were unemployed at the time. It is very difficult to attract a labor force to the area, when they would have no place to live.

The Pandemic has, of course, badly skewed those numbers.

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