BotEco Center at the Ore Dock earns support

Published: Aug. 30, 2016 at 5:31 PM EDT
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The ore dock in Marquette’s Lower Harbor has been an iconic image in the community for many years, but one organization is hoping to change, renovate and inspire that old structure a bit into the future.

It's a vision to repurpose the existing dormant industrial site located on the shore of Marquette's Lower Harbor. Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center hope to create a community center in the old structure that stands 900 feet long by 60 feet wide.

"We'll start out with a promenade around it and through it and that would add 2,000 feet of shoreline,” said Gisele Duehring, president of the friends of the ore dock BotEco center. “People can go out there and feel the breeze, view the vistas, they can hang out, have art shows and more and then eventually we would look at having access to the top of it and enclosing portions of it."

The idea is based on four pillars, a year round public space, historical preservation, ecological education and research related to Lake Superior, and climate controlled green space. The initial work for the boardwalk would start at 4 million dollars, but the board says they won't use public funds rather grant money, endowments and donations.

"Because we have those four pillars that's going to qualify us for a lot more donations and grants out there than just one of any of the four pillars would," said Duehring.

They appeared before the Marquette City Commission last night seeking support as they work to make their dreams a reality.

"We've had other people in the past come up with ideas, but nothing that ever went anywhere,” explained Mayor Dave Campana. “These people, we have recognized them, they have been around for 2-3 years as a group. They are well organized and have good plans. We encourage them to go forward on this."

The Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center are still figuring out the timeline for the project set to give new life to the iconic structure as they head into the future.