The Marquette City Commission took the first steps Monday toward securing the future of one of the city's premiere landmarks: the Lower Harbor ore dock.
The commission approved a $78,000 contract with GEI Consultants of Marquette to study the ore dock's structure and condition - an analysis that's expected to take a year to complete.
The Lower Harbor ore dock was built between 1931-32 and was abandoned in 1971. Towering over the harbor, it's become a signature element of the city's skyline with its own interpretive sign along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
Earlier this year, the city commission held a work session to talk about various ideas for repurposing the ore dock for the future to allow public use.
But, before any such project could go forward, the type of repairs needed, amount of money required to make the structure safe for reuse and annual maintenance costs all need to be determined.
Discussions over the future of the ore dock have been going on for several years. And, over the years, many plans for the ore dock have been floated - ranging from simple walkways or observation platforms to luxury condos, restaurants or enclosed botanical gardens.
Before any of these projects can develop into more than plans on paper, this baseline study needs to be done.
It will cost a few dollars, but we think it will be a sound investment in the city waterfront's future.