Marquette's Lower Harbor Ore Dock closer to revitalization

Published: Oct. 10, 2017 at 9:28 PM EDT
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The ore dock in Marquette's Lower Harbor is moving closer to being re-vitalized.

The Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center group plans to build a walkway out to a new public space, being built on top of and around the ore dock.

The Friends of the Ore Dock call this a generational project to revitalize the Marquette landmark.

It still requires approval from the city and DEQ, which is expected to take years to complete.

“I would say 5 years, but we've had a lot of progress this summer so if we get another boost like we had this summer for the bottom lands agreement approval then it could be sooner,” Friends of the Ore Dock President Gisele Duehring said.

Phase one of the project is expected to cost about $3,000,000, which will come from non-city funds.

“Right now it's really no money from the city it would be all basically private investment for capital improvement but also for operation,” Friends of the Ore Dock’s Joe Rom said.

The non-profit is waiting for a review of the “Bottom Lands Agreement,” the laws governing the land under the ore dock, to finish.

At that point, they can move forward with an engineering assessment, which is required before any funding can be collected for phase one.

“Phase one would really be kind of a promenade around the perimeter and it will really be to get people out there, once you get people out there we find that a lot of people haven't been out there up there up close and personal to the ore dock and when they do they're really inspired,” Rom said.

Phase two would enclose the space and install HVAC equipment and phase three would build a garden on the top of the ore dock, although those phases are still 10 to 15 years away.

The Marquette City Commission supports the plan, and is expected to approve it when it's presented.

According to the law, the ore dock may not be used commercially, and will be treated like a park, with the parking lot to the west available for commercial use.

“Because it's a public space it really, it has to be sort of aligned with the of Marquette's parks and recreation guidelines,” Rom said.

When the floor opened for public comment, people voiced their concern over losing parking spots on land, and asked if the city would consider solar panels to power the site.