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Lakeshore Boulevard federal funding boost a welcome development

One of the biggest projects in the city of Marquette is the relocation of Lakeshore Boulevard, which was battered late in 2019 by a storm but was in need of other work.

A welcome bit of information was the announcement that the city has received a grant of over $2 million in Pre-Disaster Mitigation funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The boulevard, which is under construction, is the focus of a project that will address erosion and Lake Superior flooding, and prevent coastal infrastructure damage and limit public safety concerns.

Area residents, as well as out-of-town tourists, have driven down Lakeshore Boulevard, which affords close-up views of Superior on their way from Founders Landing to Presque Isle Park.

One particular section, though, is badly in need of work.

Fortunately, the grant will support the relocation of a section of Lakeshore Boulevard from Pine Street to a point north of Hawley Street, a heavily damaged section.

Phase one of the project involves relocation while phase two involves shoreline restoration. It is believed the first phase will be finished mid to late summer, while the restoration work will take place later this year or in spring 2021.

Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli called Lakeshore Boulevard an “uninterrupted drive” that’s unique and highly traveled by residents and tourists alike.

So, it’s important that a well-traveled road is safe, plus it also needs to provide ecological benefits.

PDM provides funds to local and state governments to implement long-term hazard and mitigation measures. FEMA will pay 75% of the $2.7 million eligible project cost, while the city must match the remaining 25% of the funds, or $675,000.

The city already has leveraged matching funds. such as a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant for $2.5 million. The city matched this grant with $3 million.

Angeli noted the relocation project and shoreline restoration could cost between $8 million and $12 million.

So, a few more million should bring the city a lot closer to having the need funds for such an important effort.

People probably have been anxious to be able to drive Lakeshore Boulevard in its entirely for quite some time, with its scenic beauty allowing views other corridors do not. We believe any funds that move the project along can only help keep Marquette a premier destination spot and at the same provide proactive work to keep future damage from happening.

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