City moves forward with Presque Isle Marina project


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Construction of a new floating pier system for the Presque Isle Marina at the north end of Lakeshore Boulevard in Marquette is anticipated to begin this fall.

The Marquette City Commission at its Monday meeting unanimously approved a construction contract with Associated Contractors LLC in conjunction with Kokosing Industrial-Durocher Marine Division for work at the Presque Isle Marina in an amount not to exceed roughly $1.4 million.

The commission also approved amending the project’s budget to include around $277,800 in additional costs to be funded with the bond issued for the project, and authorized the city’s attorney to draft the contract.

The initial $1.12 million budget for the project was amended because the only bid received was the base bid of just over $1.4 million from Negaunee-based Associated Contractors LLC, documents provided to the commission state.

With the marina’s southernmost pier decommissioned, the city is planning to demolish the middle — now southernmost — pier and construct a single floating pier system with a minimum of 32 slips able to accommodate vessels 30 to 60 feet long, city officials said previously.

The work approved in the base bid, which city officials hope to see begin in the fall, includes pier removal, installation of a floating pier system, dredging mobilization, erosion control, restoration, removal of the existing pier fuel system, as well as the installation of riprap and removal of existing bin-type piers at the southern pier, according to city notes.

“The goal is to start this fall and complete prior to next season,” Marquette Director of Community Services Jon Swenson told commissioners. The project could be amended to continue in the spring if winter weather conditions lead to a delay, he said.

While the firm also submitted alternate bids for northern pier removal and dredging, in the additional amounts of around $199,100 and $164,400, respectively, the commission did not move forward with acceptance of these bids. City staff said the northern pier will remain until funds are available to remove it.

The motion to approve the contract and budget amendment was made by Commissioner Dave Campana, who noted: “It comes in over budget, but we’re going to work real hard to get it down to budget.”

“I have faith in our city staff and their financial planning,” Campana said. “I think we have to do this. We really can’t back out of this, we need to rebuild the Presque Isle Marina to this extent. I’m for it, we can do this. The figures will come together, I have faith.”

While the cost was about 20% higher than what was originally anticipated due to inflation, there are opportunities for the cost to be reduced, Swenson said.

Savings could be realized if state permitting allows for dredge materials from the marina to be used in the development of a pier at Founders Landing, and/or if any materials can be used for filling and site remediation at the recently-closed We Energies Presque Isle Power Plant, Swenson said. Around $92,000 is currently budgeted for disposal of material excavated from the Presque Isle Marina project.

“If the fill is not able to be used in the Founders Landing pier redevelopment project, the We Energies site might be an opportunity,” Swenson said. “From what I understand, the timing could be made to work.”

The new floating pier system is needed, officials said, as the bin walls at Presque Isle Marina have deteriorated over the years since it was constructed in the 1970s, leading to structural issues and utility services concerns.

Due to this, the city in March 2017 sought a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Waterways Program grant for the third phase of the Presque Isle dock demolition and floating pier installation. City officials received correspondence late that year from the DNR indicating the project was being recommended to the state for funding, commission documents state.

The agreement, which initially provided 50% of the project’s then-estimated $1.12 million cost, was approved by the commission at a September meeting. The city commission then approved Coleman Engineering Co.’s proposal for design and construction oversight of the dock replacement at the marina in October.

However, at a meeting in late November, the commission amended the 2019 Presque Isle Marina budget to include an additional roughly $40,000 “due to an error in the state legislative process” and approved the grant agreement, committing $581,900 to reconstruct a new floating middle pier, finger piers with utilities and utility pedestals, according to commission notes.

The city commission previously approved a plan for the Cinder Pond and Presque Isle marinas in a 2016 split-vote decision that aimed to address financial issues and recommendations from the state by raising rates for seasonal slip rentals through the build-out of Cinder Pond Marina in 2024.

It’s necessary to do this, city staff said, so the city can rebuild and maintain the marinas without relying on the city’s general fund and future grant funding for operations.

“Many users are paying fees that are starting to build a fund that’s going to help to pay for this generation and the future generation,” Swenson said. “So we’ve gone down the path of fiscal responsibility with this. As it stands right now, each year, the slip holders’ fees are raised 5%, so that’s been an ongoing fiscal policy.”

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.