FIRST THE RECOVERY Room, then the Delft, then Digs, and now the Iron Bay Restaurant and Drinkery (formerly L’Attitude).
New and re-fashioned restaurants and bars are popping up downtown seemingly every month.
The latest on the Iron Bay: They’ll be taking applications for employees within a couple of weeks. They hope to open in a very soft launch by the end of April. Their crew is working feverishly on redesigning the interior.
An open kitchen. Large historical photos from Jack Deo and the Marquette Regional History Center on the walls. New tabletops adorned with historical photos, new chairs, a huge mirror, huge wine racks, and a fireplace to be installed this fall (the former boiler at the Orphanage).
And a brand new menu. NMU executive chef Nathan Mileski is still a consultant on the project but it appears his role has been reduced in recent months. Jill Hayes, who’d worked previously at L’Attitude, will be the GM.
Great expectations here at one of the best venues in Marquette, overlooking the park and the lake.
The question has to be asked again, though…Can Marquette, population 21,000, support this many restaurants and bars?
BUT WAIT, THERE’S more!
Iron Bay’s owner Joe Constance has something else in mind for that space adjacent to the Iron Bay. It used to be called 46 (degrees). It was an underutilized room with its own charm. High ceiling, brick walls.
Constance won’t say publicly yet what he’s putting in there, but he does insist it will fill a “niche” in downtown Marquette.
He hopes to have it up and running by June. Yeah, yeah, we’ll see about that.
But he does guarantee it will happen. The money’s there, plans have been made, he’s trying to settle on a name. It will be a business separate from the Iron Bay.
LOOKS LIKE WE’LL soon be getting a new ordinance on short term rentals in Marquette–those increasingly popular, casual B & B’s popularized by Airbnb and others.
Dennis Stachewicz, the director of planning and community development, will be speaking to the City Commission tonight (Monday) presenting the slightly revised plan which has gotten the endorsement of the Planning Commission and Fire Department.
The plan imposes block-by-block limits on these short term rentals and will likely also include a citywide limit on the number of them. 200? 300? We’ll see.
It’s been in the works for a long time. A lot of public input, plenty of pressure from homeowners and the business community.
The Commission could vote on the plan as early as April 10th.
No surprise–the city’s seen a surge in applications for the B & B’s in the last couple of weeks.
YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD that the Trump administration is proposing to cut subsidies for the Essential Air Service program (EAS).
That means the airlines might stop operating altogether at smaller airports, or use turbo props instead of jets.
That could be bad news for the five smaller airports in the U.P. because they’ve benefited hugely from those subsidies.
But what about Sawyer International, which hasn’t been receiving the subsidies?
Well, the change, if it’s enacted, could be a boon to Sawyer. Sawyer has suffered in the past because flights out of these smaller airports have often been much cheaper because they were receiving federal help.
So this could mean more flights into and out of Sawyer. More choices for Marquette County travelers.
By the way, Steve Schenden, the operations manager at the airport, says the new daily Delta flight to Minneapolis has been running at more than 80% capacity. That’s good. And it hasn’t cut into the passenger loads of the other flights out of Sawyer.
SOMETHING ELSE THAT might be affected by the new administration in Washington?
The proposed County Road 595, the one that would cut a 22 mile swath through central Marquette County. The Environmental Protection Agency has been blocking it because of its infringement upon wetlands, but new EPA officials–more pro business–might take a different view.
The Marquette County Road Commission, backed by a citizens’ group and unnamed private money, now has the issue before a federal appeals court in Cincinnati. They were involved in mediation a few weeks ago. They’ll try again in another week or so.
The best argument for the new road? If 595 was built, the huge trucks loaded down with ore from the Eagle Mine would be able to use it, instead of the current, circuitous 50 mile route which takes them along the northern edge of Marquette, the NMU campus, and through Negaunee and Ishpeming.
“WE’RE IN UNCHARTED territory. This will be a building season like no other we’ve seen.”
So says Brian Kerrigan, the business manager for Michigan carpenters and millwrights in Marquette. The unions don’t have enough members to work all the projects in the county.
Which ones? Well, the $300 million hospital, One Marquette Place at Founders Landing, the dorms and learning resource center at NMU, the casino expansion in Harvey, the off campus housing on Sugar Loaf, the upcoming power plants in Negaunee and Baraga, the Energy Center on Wright Street, and an unnamed hotel remodeling job.
And there’s plenty more. Ask anybody who’s tried to get smaller projects completed in the last year. It’s been tough. Everybody’s busy, working on something else.
Kerrigan would love to attract more young people to the trades. Starting salary for a carpenter’s apprentice here? A not so shabby $15.22 an hour.
NO TRIAL DATE set yet for Jud Sojourn, the NMU professor who was arrested at a Standing Rock protest in North Dakota a few weeks ago for “obstruction of a government function.”
He says he was filming a Facebook live video when he was arrested and jailed. He’s taken part in the protests four separate times.
If convicted, he could face a year in jail and a $3000 fine. Seems unlikely.
Sojourn says he’s encountered nothing but support on his return to NMU–mainly from students, but also some faculty and administration officials, as well. He doesn’t think his job’s in jeopardy.
Would he take part in another Native American protest? “I consider myself on call,” he says. “I’ll go wherever I’m needed.”
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