MARQUETTE - Marquette city officials opened up a portion of the new public boardwalk at Founders Landing with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning.
Although the city has sold several parcels of Founders Landing to private developers, city officials have long maintained one of their goals for the area is to reserve the waterfront for the public.
"This is a very exciting day for the citizens of Marquette," said Commissioner Johnny DePetro. "They've been looking forward to getting this boardwalk open for several years. This is just the beginning of what's going to be a beautiful area for people to come down, walk around, sit down on the benches and enjoy the scenery."
DePetro said the boardwalk will be enjoyed by many generations to come.
A portion of the boardwalk, which will be adjacent to an 84-room Hampton Inn hotel, is still closed while the hotel is being constructed.
The boardwalk is one of several public projects at Founders Landing. Other projects include a seawall, lighting, bike trail and landscaping. To pay for the projects, the city issued a capital improvement bond in December 2010 for $995,000. The bond will be repaid with funds from the city's brownfield tax increment financing capture at Founders Landing.
The entire Founders Landing area is in a brownfield tax increment financing district. When the Founders Landing TIF district was established in 2009, taxes for that area were set at 2009 levels which means taxing jurisdictions will continue to collect taxes from the property every year at 2009 levels until the TIF expires.
As private development occurs on the site - the condominiums on the middle parcel, the hotel - its taxable value increases. Instead of paying those increased taxes to the government, the property owners pay the money to the brownfield redevelopment finance authority for a period of 30 years.
The authority distributes the money to the developers - to help pay for construction costs that are solely attributable to building on a brownfield site - and to the city to help pay for public improvements, such as the boardwalk.
Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.