Founders Landing project good for city

What’s not to love about a view of a lake, especially Lake Superior?

But what’s not to love about robust city coffers that fund much-needed municipal projects and programs?

It’s about a healthy balance, and we believe a development agreement approved by the Marquette City Commission for a city-owned parcel near the northeast corner of Lakeshore Boulevard and Front Street/U.S. 41 achieves this.

The agreement for Founders Landing Joint Venture LLC calls for the development of a three-story chain hotel, the Fairfield Inn, and three-story townhomes anticipated to be between $300,000 and $350,000 each.

Although Monday’s vote was unanimous, some area residents expressed concern about lost views of the lake, which angered people in a previous development. They also didn’t like the lack of the city’s communication with the public, a concern shared by some commissioners.

However, lakeshore development is inevitable.

How it’s handled can make a difference.

We understand how nearby residents and travelers along South Front Street might miss looking out their windows and seeing Lake Superior. There are many places to view the lake, though, one of which is Lakeshore Boulevard. As Commissioner Dave Campana noted at Monday’s meeting, the east side of the street will belong to the city of Marquette, affording people access to driving, walking and bicycling there.

Another fact entering the picture is the loss of tax revenue with the recent closure of the Presque Isle Power Plant, from which the city took in about $1 million in property taxes last year.

It’s hard for a municipality to operate without a healthy dose of tax revenue, however, and the Fairfield Inn, estimated to be a $9.5 million project, also is expected to produce 25 to 35 jobs depending on the season.

There needs to be plenty of green space, especially in an area as picturesque as Marquette, and Lake Superior’s shoreline for the most part should be kept undeveloped since it’s such an environmental jewel. Development, though, is inevitable. That said, there needs to be smart development that considers the needs of many involved parties.

Although lines of communication between city officials and residents could be improved, we’re in favor of this outcome, which should benefit Marquette in the long run.


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