MARQUETTE - Tourist Park is going retro. For the first time since the Dead River Flood drastically changed the landscape in 2003, the basin at the north Marquette park will be filled this fall.
Work on the dam has been completed by Associated Constructors, and only minor work - such as concrete sealing and painting - remains, according to Erik Booth, project manager with the Marquette Board of Light and Power.
In the spring, Smith Paving constructed 14 acres of emergent and shrub wetlands, which will be seeded in early September. The Superior Watershed Partnership has been helping in the planning and design for the wetlands, according to Booth.
The basin at Tourist Park, seen here in an aerial shot from late July, will be totally filled with water this fall. The Marquette Board of Light and Power, in conjunction with a number of local organizations, has worked to restore the basin and the dam on the Dead River and to create 14 acres of\ wetlands. (Tony WIlliams photo)
The water level was brought up a bit this year, and with all the other pieces in place, Booth and his team will watch the waters rise even more this fall.
"The water levels will be brought up another seven feet over the course of approximately two weeks and will be at normal pool (level) by the first week of October, which is about the time that the power house will be ready to generate clean, green, emission-free, renewable power," Booth said.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has overseen two separate smallmouth bass plantings this year and will follow those by planting a mix of bluegill and yellow perch next year.
Design work was done by local engineering firm AECOM. Bill Sanders of Sanders and Czapski Associates helped to design a beach that meets soon-to-be-adopted access standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Central Upper Peninsula Sport Fishing Association is helping to design a handicapped-accessible, flosting fishing pier, which should be installed in October.
Booth said a main focus of the project has been to keep as much of the project local as was possible.
"On top of the folks who helped us rebuild this, the support we've received on this project, from the community in general, is a testament to the type of people that live and work here," he said. "This project is community-owned and community-built. It's been an absolute privilege to restore it."
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.