Senior housing, day use docks and transportation plan on Marquette’s radar

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

Senior housing, additional public docks and a visioning plan for community transportation initiatives were among the potential projects discussed by the Marquette City Council at its Sept. 13 regular meeting.


Chief among the projects is senior housing, the development of which has been a long-time city goal. Council members reviewed several concepts presented by Ryan Wicks with Fehr Graham Engineering & Environmental, which they hope will entice a potential developer to build on property between the city shop/Mar-Mac police station and Gencor.


“What we’ve seen throughout different communities is that duplexes seem to be popular—single level, some have basements but not all of them. So we drifted toward that,” said Wicks.


He shared an example of similar 55-plus housing developed by the Good Neighbor Home in Manchester. 


“They’ve been very popular. They’re all sold before they build them,” he added.


Layout options include a road through the development with units on both sides. 


“We’re trying to find that margin between number of units and cost,” Wicks explained. “There is utility overhead and electrical to put out there, but when you get into a project of this scale and magnitude with new development, you get a little more competitive pricing than reconstruction projects.”


In addition to the layouts, Wicks said Fehr Graham has CAD-based drawings the city can utilize for marketing.


“This should give an idea to potential people who are interested of what they could work with,” he said.


Marquette’s housing committee will now review the options and determine the direction the city would like to go. Mayor Steve Weipert was hopeful.


“This is, by far, more than we’ve had in the past two years we’ve been trying to do this,” he said.


Another project on the city’s radar is the addition of day use docks on the riverfront.


“It would be located where the fishing pier is now. The fishing pier would then be moved down near Bloody Run,” explained Weipert.


Marquette hopes the project can be largely funded through an Iowa Department of Natural Resources Water Recreation Access Cost Sharing Grant. Council approved submittal of an application at the meeting.


“We have met with a couple companies to get bid prices on docks, but I don’t have final pricing yet. The grant is due the end of this month. It’s a 75/25 match,” with the city covering 25 percent of the cost, according to city clerk Bonnie Basemann.


Additionally, the council approved submittal of a grant application for Marquette’s participation in an Iowa Living Roadways community visioning program to develop plans for the city’s transportation system.


If selected, the city would have to commit $2,000 for implementation, said Weipert.


“This is for parks, trails, the riverfront. There are a lot of things we could use it for,” he shared.


Basemann said Marquette and neighboring McGregor were actually approached to participate together.


“They were interested in doing a project with two communities that work together so they can encompass the entire area. We’d each do our own grant, but with synergy and the same engineering so it would co-exist with their plan,” she explained. “It’s kind of like the comprehensive plan process. There’s a community visioning and you select a steering committee. After the visioning, there would be ideas for projects to implement.”


One project the council wasn’t quite ready to put its support behind, however, was a proposal by the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts to develop the area behind The Left Bank Shop and Gallery in McGregor into seating and a stage for entertainment and other activities.


Art center representative Anne Kruse presented the idea, which she said will cost an estimated $50,000. The art center is hoping to cover half the cost with an Iowa Great Places grant, and is seeking $12,500 pledges from both the cities of Marquette and McGregor for the match. The grant application was to be submitted this week.


The council wasn’t ready to commit, though, until members could gather more information and consider other city projects already in the works. The item was tabled.


Other topics on agenda

At last week’s meeting, the council also adopted an ordinance that would allow ATV and UTV use within the city and set fall city-wide clean-up for Saturday, Oct. 22. 


Driftless Area Wetlands Centre Director Alicia Mullarkey provided an update on discussions with Clayton County Conservation to potentially take over the facility. She said some residents have contacted Wetlands Centre board members opposing the idea to relinquish city control of the site. Mullarkey suggested a community meeting or open house to gather feedback, in addition to reviewing recent comprehensive plan survey responses related to the Wetlands Centre.

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