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      Marquette County programs to receive $1.2 million in funding

      Marquette County organizations will be receiving $1.2 million in contributions as part of the partnership between Cliffs Natural Resources and Eagle Mine.

      The money will be provided through the Cliffs Natural Resources/Eagle Mine Marquette County Community Fund, and it will be split between 12 organizations throughout the county. The program was created in 2012, and it is intended to provide financial assistance to community projects and programs in Marquette County.

      "We are very pleased that Cliffs and Lundin could join together to create a fund that will be able to support worthwhile community projects in Marquette County," said Dale Hemmila, Director of Public Affairs in North America for Cliffs. "The projects we've chosen to support represent a diverse group and will provide a significant benefit to the community."

      "Both Lundin and Cliffs have a long history of supporting communities where we operate," added Matt Johnson, External Affairs Manager for Eagle Mine, a subsidiary of Lundin Mining. "The Cliffs/Eagle Mine Marquette County Community Fund focuses on education, youth, environment, health and community development. We're pleased to be able to support projects that enhance the quality of life in Marquette County.

      Programs receiving funding:

      Negaunee Citizens Support and Arts - $10,000City of Negaunee Bernie Rivers Field - $25,000Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library - $100,000Noquemanon Trail Network Council - $150,000Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council Vista Theater - $70,000Marquette County YMCA - $400,000Room at the Inn - $50,000Special Olympics - $35,400Ishpeming Public Schools - $20,000Iron Ore Heritage Trail - $156,000Powell Township Volunteer Fire Department - $100,000Forsyth Township Fire Department - $100,000

      According to Cliffs, the grant funding will help support programs at the Ishpeming Public Schools Strings program, the Negaunee Public Schools Music Department, and the Special Olympics. Other funding will be used for recreational enhancements by The Noquemanon Trail Network, Iron Ore Heritage Trail, and the City of Negaunee's Bernie Rivers Field complex.

      The money going to the Ishpeming Public Library is for an ADA compliant elevator, Room at the Inn will purchase and renovate a warming center in Marquette, and the Vista Theater will add a movie projector and screen. Both fire departments plan to use the funding to purchase new fire trucks.

      Funding to the YMCA will be for renovation of a newly purchased facility in Negaunee.

      "We're just excited that we can move forward and serve the west end through the gracious gift they've given us," said Lisa Coombs-Gerou, CEO of the YMCA of Marquette County.

      The new Y will be at the former Range Bank in Negaunee. The Y plans to start construction in November and most of it will be internal. On the outside, they're going to add a sign, but they plan to keep the clock. The new facility is expected to be up and running in early 2014 when it will be given a new formal name.

      "Folks from outside really aren't going to see a lot, but once you walk in it's going to be a whole different facility," Coombs-Gerou said.

      The $400,000 grant covers more than a third of the total $1.1 million project. There were many other organizations denied a grant, but they have more chances to apply.

      Cliffs and Eagle Mine stated that the fund remains open to receive additional grant applications. The fund plans to distribute a total of $4 million within five years, meaning there are still $2.8 million left for grants. The next review cycle will be in early 2014.

      For more information on the grant application process, click here.