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      Buildings demolished at old air force base

      Bob Struck looked on with a feeling of excitement as the demolition of old abandoned buildings at the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base continued Monday.

      After the air force base closed 18 years ago, many of the buildings were abandoned.

      "We're so happy that it's coming to fruition. It's a big deal because these buildings were just vacant and they were a hazard to the area," said Sawyer Community Alliance Director, Bob Struck.

      The demolition is being funded through the Blight Elimination Program which, according to the program, involves the demolition of dangerous structures with the goals of providing a safer route to and from school for children.

      Fifteen buildings and 21 garages will be torn down over the next three months.

      "The prior owner didn't pay their property taxes, so as county treasurer, I foreclosed on them. We were fortunate to get $480,000 with demolition funding which we applied for. A total of 94 living units will be torn down," said Marquette County Treasurer, Anne Giroux.

      Removing the old buildings was a top priority for the Sawyer Community Alliance which is made up of members living in and around the area.

      "It's a community that's just starting to grow. There's 3,000 people that live here that were not here 10 years ago, and they're coming together with two different township governments and people finding a way to create a community that they want to live in," Struck said.

      For now, there is not a specific plan on what to do with the land, but once the area is completely cleared, it could be used for redevelopment.