Marina project moves ahead
MANISTIQUE – Anyone looking down into the Manistique Marina lately will see the progress of phase two of the multi-million dollar renovation project now underway. This phase of the project is expected to be completed by mid- October.
Phase one of the estimated $4.2 million project, completed in 2010, included dredging of the river and harbor. The final phase of the project will include the replacement of bin walls and installation of floating piers within the marina itself, as well as access and parking improvements.
According to City Manager Sheila Aldrich, construction and dredging crews have been busy completing various portions of phase two – most noticeably the new harbor master building. The new building will include restrooms and showers for boaters, as well as public restrooms, the harbor master’s office, and a public information area.
“I think the community’s going to enjoy it,” she said. “It’s going to be a building that will last the community for many, many years.”
A sign will adorn the front of the building when complete, and new parking lots, including angled parking along the building itself, will welcome the public. Around the back of the building, grills and picnic tables will be available for public use.
The building also boasts stonework which Joe Berg, project manager with Coleman Engineering, the engineering firm for the project, called “impeccable”.
“The city’s extremely fortunate in having contractors working here that are probably the best in the business,” he said. “These people know what they’re doing.”
Beside the building, phase two also includes a new fuel station and pump-out facility, as well as new broadside docking along the river’s edge. Currently, the area next to the bin wall is being dredged, and the structure that held the old harbor master’s building and fuel tanks is being removed.
Once the bin wall is complete, a sidewalk will be created to run along the edge of the water, and tie-offs for smaller vessels will be available.
The site will also accommodate larger vessels, such as the Yorktown cruise ship, which recently visited the area. During its visit, the ship had to drop anchor near the lighthouse, as a newly formed sandbar at the mouth of the river prevented its entry into the marina.
According to Aldrich, the sandbar formed despite the fairly recent dredging project in 2010. She noted that the accumulation of sand was natural, and could be the result of any number of occurrences, such as increased rainfall and natural sediment movement from upstream.
The city’s marina is considered a “recreational harbor” by state agencies, explained Aldrich, which means it will not be high on the priority list for funding, since the marina is not crucial to the economy.
However, she said she is optimistic the city will see dredging at the mouth of the river before the Yorktown’s next visits in 2014.
“We still are in for some maintenance dredging, but I do not know what the time frame is,” she said.
The so-called maintenance dredging will not carry the same nearly $2 million price tag as previous dredging, Aldrich noted, since only the mouth of the river will need work, not the entire shipping channel.
According to Berg, regardless of future dredging, the city will have the benefit of the new harbor master building, as well as the other improvements to the area.
“This will be a beautiful place when finished,” he said. “It will be outstanding.”