The city of Marquette may be taking the first steps toward putting the Lower Harbor ore dock to use.
When adopting the 2013-2014 budget last month, the Marquette City Commission approved $80,000 for an "ore dock structural analysis" that will provide baseline information to make informed decisions in the future.
Following the assessment, the city should know the current state of the ore dock, as well as what options it has with the structure.
We are glad to see the city being proactive in planning for the future of the ore dock and we hope to see the regional landmark preserved for some sort of future public use.
Though the ore dock is very much a symbol of Marquette, it has always been off limits to the average resident. We would love to see that change.
City staff has priced a handful of options for allowing public access to the historic structure, including a walkway or boardwalk along its perimeter, as well as a boardwalk located on the inside of the dock. Viewing platforms have also been priced out.
Many of these options cost nearly $1 million or more, according to city staff, and we certainly wouldn't suggest local taxpayer dollars be directed to a project with such a hefty price tag.
But we would hope the city representatives would keep their eyes open, in case possible funding - either public or private - comes available.
For the time being, though, we very much support the city undertaking a structural analysis of, and planning for the future of, a regional landmark.