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Coastal management grant agreement approved

MARQUETTE — The Marquette City Commission recently approved a coastal management grant agreement for funding from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s Coastal Management Program.

At its Feb. 8 regular meeting, the commission voted 7-0 to approve the grant agreement and a corresponding budget adjustment. The grant money, awarded by EGLE in October, will be used to help fund the city’s ongoing coastal restoration initiatives. Funds will go toward planning, design and restoration within the project area along Lakeshore Boulevard, city documents state.

The city requested $200,000 from EGLE to go toward the total project cost of $402,851, and also has a 50.35% match.

A match of $190,000 is required, which consists of $167,469 in cash and $22,531 in in-kind services. This amount was not included in the city’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget due to uncertainty in whether or not the city would be awarded the funding.

“The reason we didn’t include this in the budget previously, quite honestly, I didn’t think we were really going to get the grant to begin with,” said Gary Simpson, chief financial officer for the city. “Because it has an impact on bond issues and capital outlay, we didn’t want to include it until we absolutely knew we were getting the grant.”

The Superior Watershed Partnership along with other project partners also chipped in $12,851 in matching funds.

This portion of the project, which will likely fall under Phase 2 of the Lakeshore Boulevard restoration, will restore a section of the coastline with natural infrastructure such as coastal wetlands, dune and swale, and upland habitat, according to city documents. In all, the project will restore over 1,200 linear feet, or 7.9 acres, of coastal habitat, and will also reconnect 10 acres of coastal wetlands to the south and 34 acres to the north.

The city commission and city staff held a work session last month to discuss Phase 2 of the project. Baird, a firm specializing in coastal engineering and restoration, was on-hand to present ideas from a study it conducted of the shoreline, which included the planting of more dune grass and a natural cobble beach area along the coastline.

Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli said at the Feb. 8 meeting that the city will continue to work with Baird on the engineering and design process.

“What we plan to do now, is once the grant is approved and the contract agreement is approved by the commission, our community development staff will then begin to work with Baird to include this (funding) in the design process,” he said.

“This particular area that we’re going to address is purely related to the shoreline restoration and stabilization. The street has already been accomplished through a different grant. This just helps us take care of more of the property to the south of where the roundabout is.”

Angeli added that should all go according to plan, work is expected to commence in the upcoming construction season.

“Once we start designing and doing the engineering for this, it’s hoped that we can include it with our Phase 2 of the Lakeshore project,” he said. “It would make sense to do it that way.”

Phase 1 of the project, which moved the road inland last summer, cost an estimated $3 million to $4 million. The entirety of the project is expected to cost upward of $10 million.

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