Copper Peak Fans Confident About State Funding Bill
By: Richard Jenkins
IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP – Supporters of the effort to bring ski flying back to Copper Peak were optimistic the effort will receive state funding Wednesday as they gathered at Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort to hear a brief update on progress and meet Horst Tielmann, one of the officials overseeing ski jumping for the International Ski Federation.
Tielmann said there was a lot of excitement in the international ski jumping community for Copper Peak’s effort, with many having fond memories of past competitions. “If you talk to former ski jumpers, nowadays coaches or (leaders in national programs), they all jumped here in the ’90s,” Tielmann said. “They are so excited to see Ironwood back on the (international) stage.” He continued by talking about the opportunities Copper Peak presents, saying if the plans are carried out it would be the only hill in North America built for summer competition and the only competition-level hill that could be used as a practice site.
Along with Tielmann’s brief talk, there was an update on the progress of a bill in the state legislature to fund the necessary renovations to the ski jump. According to the information presented at the meeting, a bill introduced by state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, to create a funding mechanism for the project is expected to be voted on in the senate in the next few weeks. The bill would take excess funds tied to bonds taken out for Cobo Hall in Detroit and allocate them to projects in northern Michigan over the next 10 years. Approximately $1.2 million a year would be designated to Copper Peak for the next decade to generate the money needed for the ski jump’s renovations. The money will be used as a debt service on the bonds taken out to fund the construction.
Ed McBroom, who was at the event on behalf of Casperson, said an identical bill has been introduced in the state house and is expected to go to the governor’s desk once the bills pass their respective houses.
Copper Peak has already submitted a permit to International Ski Federation to get on the organization’s schedule for the summer of 2019. The permit was submitted on the expectation the funding bill will go through, Bob Jacquart told the Daily Globe after the event, and Copper Peak supporters will hopefully confirm the ability to host competitions at the organizations April meeting.