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Marquette approves work related to fishing pier, housing projects

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

The city of Marquette is moving ahead with fishing pier and housing projects. 

 

At its Oct. 10 regular meeting, the city council selected Bacon Concrete, at an amount of $39,635, to complete construction of a proposed fishing pier access. With the addition of new day use docks this year, the fishing pier is being moved down the Marquette riverfront, to the mouth of Bloody Run Creek.

 

On the recommendation of the housing committee, Delta 3 Engineering was selected to proceed with the city’s senior/affordable housing project. Delta 3 was one of three firms who responded to Marquette’s housing RFQ.

 

Additionally, the council approved Brown Forestry to treat the invasive barberry shrub on up to 15 acres of the bench evacuation route property. The work, which will run at $150 per acre, is part of the city’s forest management plan for the area.

 

Resident Dennis Mason, who’s a member of the tree board, said the district forester completed a forest management plan several years ago.

 

“Since then, this barberry, which is a very invasive landscape shrub, has really moved in,” Mason said. “It was suggested we treat that first to keep the understory open for regeneration of oak and different trees. Over the long term, keeping a budget going for improvement on the timber management, there will be return for the city such as harvesting. There’s prairie area up there we’d like to, maybe in the spring, burn and have a variety of ecosystems up there. There’s also the possibility of trails.”

 

“I’d encourage the council to continue funding, annually, for maintenance up there,” Mason continued.

 

City clerk Bonnie Basemann said the city has allocated $3,000 of its current budget toward forest management. Mayor Steve Weipert assured this will be an ongoing process. 

 

“Start it this fall and do some more in the spring, then continue on through the years,” he stated.

 

Another initiative the city is considering is an urban revitalization plan for commercial or residential properties that undergo major improvements.

 

The idea came about, said Basemann, as the city has worked with Schoolhouse Mall to secure a $100,000 Community Catalyst Grant for renovations to the property. The initial application was unsuccessful, and among the judges’ comments was that the city had not invested enough in the project based on its $500,000 budget.

 

By creating an urban revitalization area, any property owners within that area could receive tax abatement at varying degrees if they complete improvements of at least 10 or 15 percent, Basemann explained. For example, if a property owner pays taxes on a $100,000 property, then puts $100,000 into it to create a $200,000 property, the owner could get relief on the extra $100,000.

 

“You could do up to three years at 100 percent. There’s a scale,” Basemann said.

 

An urban revitalization area could be created for a commercial area, like the downtown. “But I know some of the residential areas have older homes, so you could also set it up if somebody bought a more dilapidated house that needed to be repaired. You could give them tax abatement on the residential for a specific number of years also,” Basemann said. 

 

“That tax abatement would be part of the city’s contribution toward grants,” she added.

 

The council was supportive of the idea and directed Basemann to provide more information at an upcoming meeting. 

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