November 2016

Well, fall is upon us and winter is fast approaching. However, if you’ve been around long enough, you know that doesn’t slow us down. By now most of our street construction projects are either done or winding down, the new hospital foundation is in and the new Board of Light and Power Energy Center and City Service Center are rising from the ground. You may be wondering about the City Service Center and its seemingly massive size. It’s actually very close to the size of the previous center with one major difference, the front office space is two stories instead of just one. There are some changes, rearranging if you will, of some of the work areas in the back and the largest portion is the storage area for all of our equipment and is very similar to the old. Still impressive though and we should all be proud that we can support such a facility.

Getting back to road construction, if you thought this past summer was maybe too much, I’m giving you fair warning that next summer may be even busier. We have some very aggressive plans and may very well become the traffic circle (roundabout) capital of the U.P., if not the state. We plan to construct six new ones within the City limits. Three have received quite a bit of public attention because of their relation to the new hospital and the remaining three, while always in our plans, have not.

Two of the three that are related to the new hospital will be located on the US 41/MI 28 by-pass. One will be at Grove Street and the other will be about one quarter mile west to accommodate an entrance to the new hospital campus. The third will be directly south on Baraga Avenue. I should also mention that many of the side streets in this area will also see improvements as well.

Two of the remaining three roundabouts will be on Wright Street; one at the Lincoln Avenue intersection and the other at the Sugarloaf Avenue intersection. The third will be at the intersection of Presque Isle and Fair Avenues.
It’s an aggressive plan, but the timing is right and the roundabouts will be huge improvements to safety and traffic flow. So I hope you will all bear with me as it is progresses. As always, it’s all good for Marquette and our community.

September 2016

The last time I wrote summer was just beginning and we were all looking forward to warmer weather. Now, summer is almost over and I’m not so sure we’re ready for the cold stuff just yet. It certainly appears that the good weather has helped us along with all of our projects. All seem to be moving along just fine with one, Clark Park, completed and open. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, please stop by. It is quite impressive and my thanks to Michele Butler and the Lambros family for making it a reality.

At the time of this writing we are just finishing up on our annual budget. Our fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 and the City Commission is set to approve the 2017 budget at its regular meeting on Sept. 12. That said, it was not an easy budget and the 2018 budget is looking even more difficult. People will ask, how can that be so with all that is going on? The simple answer is that revenue is not meeting the expenses of day to day government and, unlike the Federal Government, we are not allowed to go into debt. We must balance.

Not many people realize that over 50% of the properties in the City do not pay property taxes or are not taxable. Much of the new construction falls into this category and the projects that do pay taxes are under a “Brownfield” plan which directs their taxes right back into the construction project in the form of infrastructure. It’s all good in that it helps revitalize contaminated or blighted sites and creates a positive long term outlook. However, the short term problem for us is that no revenue goes into our general fund for day to day operations.

All of this is compounded by our rising expenses, much like those incurred by normal homeowners. Utility costs (power, water and sewer) go up for us just like everyone else. Not to mention the ever-rising costs associated with healthcare, retirement and other benefits. The good news (if you can consider it that) is that we are not alone and most municipalities in the state are in the same predicament. Staff will be working hard over the next several months to explore options and keep the City Commission and public informed.

July 2016

Happy Summer everyone and I hope it’s all going well. From my vantage point, all is going well for the City of Marquette. As a matter of fact, very well. Everything that I’ve written about in previous newsletters seems to be coming to fruition. Our old Service Center on West Baraga Avenue is gone and there has been extensive site work completed for the new Duke LifePoint hospital. The site for our new Service Center on Wright Street (which we unofficially refer to as the CityPlex) is cleared and the footings have begun. Construction of the BLP Energy Center, also on Wright Street, is well under way and, adding to all that, the new Clark Park on Lakeshore Boulevard near Presque Isle is almost complete.

Which brings me to my next point: Traffic and, especially, truck traffic. My office has begun to receive calls of concern from city residents. As we have tried to express in many different methods of outreach, this increase in truck traffic was not unexpected. Construction vehicles will be more prominent with the multitude of new construction that is occurring in the City all at the same time. Unfortunately, with this type of growth comes some inconvenience and I hope that everyone will tolerate it with me. All of this is good for the City and I ask for patience and understanding.

As a matter of fact, there used to be a time when summer around here meant less traffic- not so much anymore. In the past, when university students went home for the summer and high school students went their separate ways, vehicle and foot traffic went with them. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending how you look at it), that is all replaced by new faces and vehicles in the form of visitors and tourists. This summer it will likely be compounded by the influx of workers related to the new construction projects.

Again, I must repeat these are all good things and I’m happy to be a part of it. So if you are new to the area or visiting, welcome and I hope you enjoy your stay. If you are permanent, like me, let’s notch up our patience and tolerance levels and enjoy the experience. As I mentioned before, it’s all good.

May 2016

Happy Spring everyone. I hope this message finds everyone enjoying a very welcome season. To continue the theme from my last message, we here at the City are still pushing ahead with our major projects; however, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. The Duke LifePoint Hospital construction is on schedule with a groundbreaking planned for May 26 at the site of the outdoor ice rink next to the old Service Center on Baraga Avenue. The Department of Public Works has moved into temporary facilities on Baraga Avenue and Wright Street. With that in mind, as I write this bids are going out for the construction of the new Service Center on Wright Street. Once done, a final Guaranteed Maximum Price will be presented to the City Commission on May 31. If approved, construction is slated to begin on June 1. Like I said, there is light. My thanks and appreciation for the fine work (and suffering) done by City staff to bring everything successfully to this point.

There is still a considerable amount of work left to be done by City staff as we move ahead with our part of the construction of new traffic routes and other infrastructure surrounding the new hospital. In case you haven’t heard, the tentative plans call for the realignment of South Seventh Street to coincide with a new roundabout on the bypass at South Seventh Street and Grove Street. An additional roundabout will be added about a quarter mile west of that intersection to allow easy access to Baraga Avenue and the new hospital. And just to top it off, we are planning another roundabout just north of that one on Baraga Avenue. So if you like roundabouts it’s good news. If not, you may have to adjust as best you can. The overall consensus is that roundabouts work very well.

Construction of the new Clark-Lambros Park on Lakeshore Boulevard near the Dead River is underway and should be completed later this summer. By all indications this will be a really nice addition to our City park system and will offer a new destination for those wishing to enjoy the lake and beach. My thanks to Michele Butler and the Clark family for their generous contribution to the City.

One other construction project worth keeping an eye on is the work being done for the new Board of Light and Power Energy Center on Wright Street. I say this not because the actual construction may be of interest to watch, but the transport of the three new large gas fired generators might be. The generators are massive and require very large and extremely slow-moving trucks for transport. Their arrival will likely require road closures and other unique accommodations to get them to the site. Even more interesting is the method used to transport them to Marquette from Finland and offload them. Our capabilities are limited for such a task and there are only two options. One is to offload from a ship at the site of the Shiras Steam Plant on South Lake Street. The other is a beach landing somewhere in the area of East Wright Street near the Superior Dome.

From my perspective, it’s all good news so go out and enjoy summer in Marquette.

March 2016

Welcome to mid-winter. Depending on how you look at it, it’s either been a good winter or a bad one. For us here it’s kind of in between. Just enough snow and cold weather to keep us busy, but not enough to overwhelm us. The last time I wrote, I told you about the successes we were having in concluding our negotiations with the Duke/LifePoint project. I’m happy to report that everything is still full speed ahead with ground breaking to occur in May or June this summer.

However, we’ve now turned our attention to the building of the new Public Works Service Center on Wright St. If you recall, we committed to building the new Service Center after displacing the old one and selling that property to DLP. And if you’re wondering at all, this is all good. Marquette will have a new state of the art hospital and a new Service Center to better serve our community.

Continuing on the building theme, I can’t help but be continuously awed by the amount of new constructing that is currently happening or will be happening in Marquette. All starting this spring or summer. In addition to the DLP and Service Center projects, new construction will begin on the refurbishing of the “Old Orphanage” which will be converted to specialized housing and is long overdue. The BLP will begin construction on their new Energy Center that will include the construction of large building that will house three new gas/oil generators at their Wright Street location. The Landing Development people are scheduled to begin construction of another phase of their project with the building of a planned parking ramp topped with apartments and retail space. NMU is expected to begin a construction project of their own with the construction of new residence and dining facilities.

Those are just the biggies. On a smaller scale the City, along with the Lambros and Butler families, will begin construction on the new Clark Park located just south of the Dead River on Lakeshore Blvd. Last, but not least, construction will begin on a refurbishing and upgrade to Father Marquette Park on South Front St.

All in all it great news for the City of Marquette, but I must warn everyone that it could be trying and at times difficult to navigate through the City. I suspect there will be road closures and other delays that could affect vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic throughout the summer and possible future summers, so let’s all be patient and enjoy the success.

January 2016

Well, it’s been roughly two months since the last issue of Marquette Matters and we’ve all been very busy. If you recall, the last time I wrote I told you a little about myself after having been unexpectedly elevated to the position of City Manager. It was a time of some uncertainty and maybe some confusion, but I’m happy to report that City Staff has not missed a beat and continues to do the good work that we’ve all come to expect.

The emphasis for the last few months (and for several months yet to come) has been putting the pieces of the Duke LifePoint project together. As you are probably aware, this is a complicated process with many moving parts, one of which is the relocation of the Municipal Service Center. This is an educational process for me and I am continuously amazed at the actual number of City departments and staff that are needed to make this all work. Due to the complexity of the project, every City Department, with the exception of one, has had to contribute in one fashion or another. Luckily for me, everyone here is very good at what they do and I can depend more on their expertise instead of sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong.

Although many staff members have contributed to this project, I couldn’t help but have a special appreciation for City Attorney Ron Keefe and his partner Suzanne Larsen. The amount of legal work that went into this project was staggering and there were at least six attorneys involved from both sides (and we can all imagine the potential there). But I’m happy to report that we all had the same goal, the right people were in the room and reason and common sense won the day. My thanks to Tom Butler and the DLP staff as well. They proved to be good people to work with.

In case you missed it, we were able to complete the land sale (the current Service Center) to DLP through a detailed Post Closing Development Agreement, approve a lease agreement with DLP to enable us to continue to (temporarily) utilize part of our old Service Center after they purchased it and during our transition to our new Service Center, approve the purchase of about 3.5 acres of land from Argonics on Wright Street for the development of the new Service Center and move forward in solidifying some of the funding for the project through the Brownfield Redevelopment process.

Of course there is still plenty left to be done, but if anyone has any doubt that the hospital project will happen I, for one, am not seeing anything to indicate otherwise.

MarquetteMI.Gov

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: (#4) Application request limit reached
Type: OAuthException
Code: 4
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.

Contact Info

City Hall:

+1 906-228-0435

300 W. Baraga Ave., Marquette, MI 49855

Municipal Service Center:

+1 906-228-0444

1100 Wright St., Marquette, MI 49855

Tourist Park Reservations:

+1 906-228-0465

 

M-F: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday
Police and Fire on duty 24/7

Copyright 2018 © All Rights Reserved