City moving forward on Lakeshore Blvd. redesign project

MARQUETTE – The city took another step this week toward restoring more than a half mile of Lake Superior shoreline.

The Marquette City Commission voted unanimously at Monday’s meeting to accept a grant and pledge support for the second phase of a process that could lead to the redesign of a stretch of Lakeshore Boulevard and adjacent shoreline.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Zone Management grant is for $34,500 and includes a city match of $34,500 worth of in-kind contributions.

The goal of the project – an effort between the city and the Superior Watershed Partnership – is to remove the rock rip-rap lining the lake side of Lakeshore and move the road inland. The view from the road, extending roughly from the Hawley Street to Pine Street intersections, would be restored and the area would be returned to a more natural state.

“It’s going to be money that can be used to actually work on the two dune restoration sites,” City Director of Planning and Community Development Dennis Stachewicz told the commission. “A portion of that money will go to the Superior Watershed Partnership for that construction of those sites, and also that money will be used to facilitate some of the further meetings.”

The first phase of the project, which began last summer, included public meetings and a preliminary design. The second phase, according to the grant application, will use the preliminary project design to develop a final engineering plan for coastal restoration and public access. At least two more public meetings will also be scheduled.

This phase, which is estimated to extend through March of 2014 according to the grant application, will lead to project implementation. The future project would be funded from the city’s budget and is tentatively estimated at $1.2 million.

The application states that the plan “represents a unique opportunity to create a successful community based Great Lakes waterfront reclamation project.”

The road section in question is prone to flooding and erosion, and a 3,000-foot stretch of heavily armored rock rip-rap obscures much of the view from the street.

For years, the city has had long-term plans – related to erosion concerns – to elevate the road and move it inland from Lake Superior.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.