MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Years ago, the Lake Superior shoreline in downtown Marquette was busy with freighters as they came in and out of the ore dock.

Since 2018, the city of Marquette has been working with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) on a $5.6 million dollar project to create two piers out of existing pilings in that area.

“We’re looking to expand access to the lakeshore to the public, and provide an area for folks to enjoy the lake. [Especially] for folks who maybe don’t necessarily have the opportunity to get out on a boat and see the water from that area,” said Mayor Jenna Smith.

Some of the additional features include an accessible launch area for canoes and kayaks. and on the south pier a larger area to hold events. However, at a city commission last week, commissioners discussed an issue with the budget that is entirely funded by the Founders Landing brownfield plan.

“About a year ago, we were having issues getting permits through EGLE. We just had some issues that were unforeseen, and at this point, we’ve submitted some redesigns and we’re working through some options. The reason we had a work session last week was because the cost has risen due to increases in materials costs so timber prices have gone. Some steel prices for the type of material we were looking for had gone up exponentially. We had to look at ways to cuts the budget while still making sure we implement a really nice project for the residents in the city of Marquette,” said Smith.

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After visiting lower harbor recently, Smith is excited to see this project come to fruition.

“I just had this overwhelming positive feeling of how great these two piers will be if folks have more expanded access to the lakeshore. It just gave me that feeling of another area for folks to explore the lake enjoy the lake, and I’m just really looking forward to it.”

Mayor Jenna Smith hopes construction will begin this coming summer if it’s approved in full by the city commission.