City needs invest to catch wave of ‘blue economy’

It’s hard to extrapolate a trend from just two points on a graph – but two items appearing in Tuesday’s edition of the Mining Journal indicate Marquette’s commitment to riding a coming wave of economic development.

An article by Associated Press environmental writer John Flesher took stock of a broad effort across the Great Lakes region to revitalize cities and towns by developing the “blue economy” – a range of business entreprises from pump and valve manufacturers to resorts offering vacations along redeveloped lakeshores.

The Great Lakes hold nearly one-fifth of the freshwater on the Earth’s surface – a precious commodity. Water scarcity in many other parts of the country is an even worse problem. So the Great Lakes Basin may be able to capitalize on the wealth of fresh water, attracting business, jobs and economic growth now flowing elsewhere.

And with $83.5 million in public and private money budgeted over the next year to support water-related businesses and research, the resources to study, enjoy and profit from the lakes abound.

In Marquette, water opportunities are largely centered around recreation, which is why the second item in Tuesday’s Mining Journal resonates.

A photo showed workers starting the long-planned dredging of Marquette’s Upper Harbor Tuesday morning. The work marks the first stage of of a multi-year project to renovate and rebuild the deteriorated Presque Isle Marina. During the first phase, contractors will demolish the marina’s south pier and dredge most of the harbor area, with a goal of protecting and expanding boating access to the lake.

We’re happy to see this project commence. Continued investment and upgrades to our area’s lakefront infrastructure will help us keep focused on the our unique water resource – Lake Superior – and keep us afloat in the region’s “blue economy.”