The Ore Dock: its future

In the final part of our series on the Ore Dock’s past, present and future, we look at its future.

The future of the Ore Dock in Marquette’s Lower Harbor is something many people are curious about, and everyone has different opinions.

“I’m happy with it just the way it is, right now, personally,” said Marquette’s Mayor Mike Coyne. “I’m open to ideas and I think the Commission is, and I think it’s fine the way it is right now because of what it is – it’s like a statue to our culture.”

Marquette Maritime Museum’s Board President Fred Stonehouse said, “The opportunity, perhaps, to put a public promenade around the dock, to allow folks to be able to get out and enjoy our lakefront from a uniquely different perspective.”

Although some people would like to see the Ore Dock gone, Beth Gruber, Assistant Librarian at the John M. Longyear Research Library, said, “I’d like to see it stay. It’s definitely an iconic part of Marquette’s history, and it always brings questions.”

Marquette’s City Planner says it’s subject to the city commission’s approval. “Any other uses for the facility are really subject to the City Commission, the elected officials, taking that on and creating a public planning process for any proposed future uses.” However, Mayor Coyne says it’s out of their hands, too.

“The city doesn’t have any money to do anything – it would have to be private development,” said Coyne. “The future really is in the hands of developers, I think, because it’s going to cost a lot of money to do anything with it, and it’s also going to have to require a lot of negotiating with the Department of Natural Resources, who basically controls what happens there.”

Either way, the future of the Ore Dock is brighter than ever before, knowing now that it is structurally sound and in good condition.

“The dock’s about 969 feet long,” said Stonehouse. “So, we could almost gain over 2,000 foot of waterfront by doing that with the Ore Dock.”

The development of the Ore Dock would probably cost about $60-100 million for many of the proposed ideas.

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