City commission discusses marina building options

MARQUETTE – The Marquette City Commission is taking steps to prepare for the upcoming boating season while considering the recently condemned Cinder Pond Marina service building.

The commission discussed plans for the facility at its Monday meeting after a large crack was discovered on the outside exterior wall on the southwest corner of the Cinder Pond building on March 12. The extreme frost level caused by the severe winter conditions caused the foundation to fail, according to city officials.

Damage also included cracks to the cement floor between the women’s restroom and boater lounge and cracks in the drywall in the boater lounge ceiling.

Building contents were removed the next day and the masonry block building has since been locked and barricaded.

However, with the boating season rapidly approaching, the city is hoping to have the building demolished and temporary facilities that include showers and restrooms available by June 1, which would entail the first phase of the two-phase project. The second phase would involve construction of a new facility.

Public safety, though, is at the top of the list for the city.

“That’s our number one priority: to make it safe for the public, make it safe for users, make it safe for transients and make it safe for staff,” said Karl Zueger, city community services director.

Short-term needs involve demolishing the building and getting the water, fuel and electric utilities that go into the building re-established to the pier system.

“So, if we’re going to continue to provide services to the piers, our utility lines need to be operational,” Zueger said.

He said temporary measures to provide amenities for boaters in the upcoming season are an American with Disabilities Act-compliant trailer containing toilet and shower facilities. Another trailer would be used for administration purposes, as well as storage of some maintenance items.

Zueger also said slips will be pro-rated per day. The marina operational season runs May 1 through Nov. 1.

“If ice isn’t out of the marinas until the 16th of May, and Presque Isle opens up the 16th of May, that’s when the pro-ration starts,” Zueger said. “So, it’s May 1 or when Presque Isle opens.”

The Cinder Pond Marina is along the Lower Harbor and the Presque Isle Marina is along the Upper Harbor.

Fiscal options are being considered for the two-phase project.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to not dip into any General Fund dollars, and just be assured we understand the pressure of the General Fund,” Zueger said.

The estimated cost of Phase I of the project is $158,125 while the estimated cost of the second phase is $945,000.

Zueger said the city see what will be covered under insurance after bids are submitted. Part of a contingency plan to cover shortfalls was addressed at Monday’s meeting, with the commission authorizing the submission of an emergency grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division-Waterways Planning Unit Grant Program.

The grant has a 50 percent match, with the requested grant amount and the city’s match each totaling $79,100.

Not much time can be wasted between project phases, Zueger said.

“We need to immediately switch gears and talk about rebuilding this facility,” Zueger said, and that involves studying what is insured, getting architectural and engineering services on board and identifying other needs.

A structural analysis indicated foundation design will have to be improved, he said.

“Essentially, the foundation it’s on will have to be fortified in a more effective way or moved,” Zueger said.

Mayor Pro Tem Fred Stonehouse expressed concern about whether the launch ramp will be usable after the building is demolished and utilities are secured, and subsequent work gets under way at the site. Zueger said it is believed there is enough room to have an active construction site and leave the ramp open for users.

Commissioner Don Ryan spoke in favor of the expedited process regarding the project.

“We have a very limited boating season,” Ryan said. “Let’s do the best we can.”

The proposed plan indicates the two-phase approach would result in a facility being completed by 2016.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.