Council OKs preliminary harbor plan
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:00 PM
MARINETTE - After a few revisions, Marinette City Council members still weren't entirely happy with the Menekaunee Harbor plan that was presented by Ayres Associates at a special council meeting Tuesday evening.
The basic plan includes a boat launch on the north shore of the harbor, floating docks and fishing piers, riprap hedge treatments on the shore lines, plenty of green space and improved access to the Green Bay.
"A boat launch would be huge to have there (Menekaunee Harbor)," said Alderman Dennis Colburn. "Boom Landing is a very popular spot. It has about 50 parking spots and on any given day it is half to a quarter full. I think that if a ramp is to instituted, we're going to need a lot more parking in the area."
In the end, the council voted to approve the preliminary plan. Alderman Ken Keller was the only member who voted against it.
The current plan has room for 24 trailers to park.
Alderman John Marx said that he did not approve of ripping up structures that were already in place around Menekaunee Harbor, namely the sidewalk and the docks that are currently in and around the Harbor.
"The last time we met, I stated that I am absolutely against replacing any previously installed structures, especially if they've been constructed with tax money," he said. "I'm looking at the improved path. Are we talking about removing the existing sidewalk and replacing it with another concept? That I have an issue with because that is abuse of tax money."
Ayres' plan proposes brand new sidewalks, shore treatments and dock structures. The plan does leave the current steps to the water in place.
Another concern was the amount of maintenance the proposed harbor would require.
"I think the boardwalk would be really hard to maintain, although I love the idea," Alderman Martha Karban said. "We already have a hard time maintaining the city parks and public spaces the way it is. I think it (the proposed boardwalk) would be swept over with sand a lot and I feel that it would probably take a couple of full-time people to maintain it all summer long."
Phil Johnson of Ayres Associates replied to the council members' misgivings by explaining what he thought of as the harbor's unique opportunity.
"There is an enterprising element to this," he said. "At your other boating site, you have launch fees. There could be concession revenues, pavilion rentals, soda vendors or Coke machines. You create within this harbor a unique kind of environment that recognizes the maintenance and the long-term opportunities. What I think is smart park planning is that you look at these enterprising opportunities."
Alderman David Buechler pointed out that the proposed plan is only preliminary and will change many times in the future. In fact, Johnson had pointed out earlier that the plan was to be implemented in a matter of 10 to 30 years. All that was needed that night was approval of a preliminary plan so that Ayres Associates could move forward and complete cost estimates and apply for grants.
"I hear all this talk that you want the boaters to come in but you have taxpayers here that want to use this, too," he added. "We want it to look nice. We want a place so that we can say Menekaunee is back on the map. Let's make it good looking."
The other item on Tuesday night's agenda was a formal confirmation that the City of Marinette would continue its support of the Logging & Heritage Festival.
According to a financial report from Kent Kostelecky, Marinette recreation director, the festival used $25,000 of room tax dollars and $13,000 from donations. He also mentioned that if the council did not approve support for the festival tonight, Kostelecky would no longer be able to apply for a grant that could award up to $500,000 toward promotions and marketing related to the festival.
The council voted to approve continued support for the Logging & Heritage Festival. Once again, Keller was the only member to vote against it.