Lakeshore plan another wise use of property

The city of Marquette has been gradually transforming its Lake Superior shoreline from its bygone industrial lands into prime recreational tracts.

Mattson Lower Harbor Park was perhaps the first of the noteworthy projects, which turned the former Spear Coal Dock into a grassy expanse that hosts a variety of outdoor activities.

The old Cinder Pond next to the park was also redeveloped, providing a modern, full-service marina for resident and transient boaters.

Founder’s Landing is another tract along Lake Superior that has been given new life, being changed from its former railroad yard and bulk storage tank farm into a mixture of shoreline park and condominium development.

Up next? The Lakeshore Boulevard Relocation and Coastal Restoration Project, which will shift the road inland from the lakeshore through the former Cliffs Dow property. The public got a good look at what city planners are proposing for the tract, which appears to hold the potential for another very successful transformation of city property.

Moving Lakeshore Boulevard inland has been discussed for many years, due to the erosion along the shoreline infringing on the roadway and the resulting need to have large piles of rip-rap to protect the road.

The preliminary plan calls for looping the road inland along a roughly 3,000-foot stretch from Wright Street to near Hawley Street. It would be about 300 feet from the lake at its farthest point inland.

In addition, lower rock armor would be installed along the shoreline and the road would be elevated about 8 feet, providing motorists, bicyclists and hikers an unobstructed view of the lake.

Also included in preliminary plans are creation of dune/swale complexes, two lookout platforms near the lake, rerouted the bike path inland, two parking areas for a total of about 50 vehicles and a roundabout where the new road meets Wright Street.

The entire project carries an estimated price tag of about $8 million, with city planners confident it is a doable project, especially if some grant funding can help cover the cost.

On drawings of the proposed project on the city’s website at www.mqtcty.org, there is a sizable chunk of property west of the relocated road that’s labeled “possible future development.”

With the way the project is shaping up into another fine example of wise reuse of an old industrial site, we’re confident city officials will continue to include residents in deciding what any of those future developments would be.