NEWS… Someone finally had the courage to deface the sign promoting the planned North Harbor condo development along Lakeshore Boulevard.
VIEWS… Courage? Hardly. In truth, someone has confused civil disobedience with simple vandalism. You don’t like the idea of marshland being transformed into habitable, taxable property? Read the next item in this post to find a more constructive and legal way to express your concerns rather than resorting to the gutless practice of spray painting private property under the cover of darkness.
NEWS… The City of Marquette Master Plan Update Project is currently underway with contributions from both city officials and interested citizens.
VIEWS… Here’s your chance to help usher the city into the future and contribute your thoughts on where we hope to be in the next 10 to 20 years. Just like voting helps influence decisions that impact all of us, putting time into writing the document that guides things like zoning and development can be equally consequential.
According to Dennis Stachewicz, Director of Community Development, “The Master Plan lays out “where we should go,” informed by a combination of existing data, stakeholder input, community input, and best practices related to how communities of sizes and locations like Marquette can best position themselves for the ever-changing future.”
Rather than complain on social media… after the fact, you can get involved now and avoid the rush to judgment later. Believe it or not, city officials welcome your input.
You can find out more about the process at marquettemasterplan.org.
NEWS… The Marquette City Commission will be appointing a new commissioner at Monday night’s regular meeting to take the place of Jenn Hill, who resigned the post after being elected to a position as State Representative.
VIEWS… The commission had the option of scheduling a special election or making the appointment themselves, and they have chosen the latter. If nothing else, it saves the city the money required to run an election.
Hill’s term was scheduled to run through November of 2024, so it won’t be a short term gig. Nine citizens have thrown their hat in the ring, meaning the commission has a solid pool of potential candidates.
You may remember a similar situation a few years ago when Commissioner Andrew Lorinser resigned his post shortly into his term. It was suggested at the time that the commission should appoint the person who was next in vote-getting, who in this case would be John Frick. Frick hasn’t put his name in for consideration, so the commission is charged with choosing from the following list of applicants: Perry David Allen, John Braamse, Peter Frazier, Tom Hogan, Alexi Koltowicz, Blake Kuehn, Jermey Ottaway, Tony Tollefson and Sarah Wiensch.
Several of those people have previous commission experience, some more than others. For what it’s worth, Word on the Street thinks Jermey Ottaway wouldn’t be a bad choice. He currently serves as chairman of the Downtown Development Authority and has experience in other municipal operations, as well as a degree in Political Science. I have confidence that whoever the commission selects will serve honorably, but the show of one hand here goes to Ottaway.
There’s still time for you to chime in. Commissioners can be contacted via email. You can find those addresses on the city’s website.
NEWS… UP Health System-Marquette will be moving some of their services into the vacant former Office Max building on West Washington Street.
VIEWS… As we watched the parking lot at the empty Office Max building being re-built, we wondered… who is going to take advantage of that? Now we know. It’s our local hospital that will be repurposing an empty facility rather than building new, as is often the case.
A recent article in the Mining Journal outlined the plans for exactly how the hospital will use their new space… “The proposed move would impact outpatient behavioral health, bariatric services, the blood donor center, UPHS-Marquette business office, health information management and the school of emergency medical technicians.”
Many of these services are still working out of the old hospital, whose days, as we know, are numbered. It’ll take close to two years for the Office Max building to be updated for the hospital’s use, but that’s a drop in the bucket when compared to how long that building could have sat empty. And after L&M Fleet Supply moves into the Shopko building, we’ll have an important piece of the Marquette landscape vibrant again.
NEWS… Shophouse Park, the brainchild of local entrepreneur Dave Ollila, has received approval by the Michigan Strategic Fund Board of a $3 million grant to help develop the facility’s infrastructure.
VIEWS… This seven-figure grant comes on the heels of a $700,000 grant recently awarded to Innovate Marquette SmartZone by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also intended to support the development of Shophouse Park, as what they’re calling an “outdoor venture innovation center.”
None of this is chump-change. We haven’t seen financial commitments to the U.P. like this since Negaunee’s Dominic Jacobetti had control of the state’s purse strings, way back in the last century.
Up until now, the NMU-funded work coming out of Innovate Smartzone and Invent@NMU has been largely characterized with a lot of fancy high-tech words like “incubator” and “accelerator,” but now it’s real money that’s doing the talking.
The relationship between Innovate SmartZone Marquette and Shophouse Park can be a little confusing, but the net result of that collaboration has jumped from drawing board to shovel-ready. Innovate chief Joe Thiel’s vision of getting the most out of Marquette’s newfound entrepreneurial spirit, combined with Ollila’s appreciation of the potential in outdoor recreation, may be the catalyst in bringing a 21st century sustainable industry to a geographical area perfect for that kind of development.
Spend a few minutes with Thiel and Ollila and even the most cynical among us, okay… me, will buy into what they’re selling. Thiel’s forward-thinking is contagious, and a valuable commodity in our local entrepreneurial scene. Ollila is working the powers that be in Lansing and Detroit to bring research and development in outdoor rec to the too often ignored Upper Peninsula. And just like mountain biking, it’s an uphill battle. “They don’t think about us,” says Ollila. The recent grants indicate the efforts coming out of the Kaufman Block are seeing a substantial return on investment.
In a few years, when you’re out riding the trails on your quiet, efficient, electric-powered snowmobile, remember where it started. Right here.
NEWS… Kog getting close to opening in Marquette.
VIEWS… Ishpeming’s Cognition Brewing Company will soon have a sister operation in Marquette’s new Third Street Marketplace. Kognisjon, not to be confused with… or rather maybe confused with, the aforementioned Cognition, will be opening “in a few weeks,” according to owner Jay Clancey.
It’s taken longer than anyone hoped, but Clancey says he’s sacrificing timeliness with his commitment to “get it right.” The new sign outside is an indication of progress as well as Clancey’s attention to detail. Too many new business owners consider their signage a necessary evil and finally put one up after most of their seed money has already been spent. That’s not the case here, as we see with the clever use of the ethnic presentation of the brew pub’s name… Kognisjon Bryggeria.
Marketplace owner Joe Constance is working on filling the remaining spaces after dealing with a setback when the Marquette Food Co-op backed out of their plans to put a satellite store there. He’s hoping something in the food or beverage industry comes forward to help establish the place as a gathering spot at the top of North Third.