HOUSEBOATS MOORED TO Marquette’s ore dock? Yep.
That’s a proposal put forward by local boatbuilder Chad Lewis to City Manager Mike Angeli and his staff. They’re now looking into the viability and legality of the plan.
Lewis is hoping to tie two houseboats (each big enough for four people) to the dock next summer, rent them out, and see how it goes. If it works, then build more. They’d be private, they’d be a tourist attraction, they’d bring in tax revenue.
Would such a deal fly with the state which owns the bottomlands on which the ore dock sits? We’ll see.
It’s important to note that the houseboat plan would not conflict with the highly ambitious BotEco proposal to develop the dock as a public space, complete with boardwalk, botanical gardens and an ecological education and research center.
The houseboat plan would not involve development of the ore dock at all. Access to the houseboats would be by smaller boats from the shore.
The entire rental season, Lewis estimates, would be about four months; then the houseboats would be pulled from the water.
It’s easy to scoff at such ideas, but this is how things get started. The City Commission will likely be looking at the plans in the next couple of months, if the city staff says the plans appear to be legal and viable.
FINALLY SOME PROGRESS at the beleaguered YMCA of Marquette County.
- Last weekend’s “Love Your Y” event drew almost 500 people who were encouraged to help pay off some of the Y’s smaller debts. Fifty-five invoices were paid off by donors. The Y sent out checks to the businesses Tuesday. A silent auction also raised thousands of dollars.
- Negotiations are underway to sell the Y’s Wright Street property that had been housing a child care center. There is serious interest. If the building is sold, that’s a major debt removed from the books.
- Inquiries have been made to Senator Stabenow’s office–Is there any chance for the Y to be relieved of its $3 million debt to the USDA? She’s been a staunch supporter of the U.P. so there is hope for some kind of a solution.
- Petitions requesting forgiveness of the debt have been circulated throughout the county. The goal? 5000 signatures, demonstrating that the Y has broad community support.
So, progress. But let’s not kid ourselves. The road ahead is a rough one, filled with potholes, boulders, and shards of glass.
The Y, burdened by almost inconceivable debt, may not make it. It’ll take a continuing, massive effort by the community to rescue it. And even that may not be enough.
FITNESS FANS CAN rejoice.
A new store, MQT Nutrition, is moving into that empty space on Third Street between Frosty Treats and Main Street Pizza.
Supplements, vitamins, healthy snacks, specialty foods, all at discount prices, comparable to what you’d get online.
The proprietors are Jenna and Rick Neaves. She’s a professional trainer, he’s a Marquette cop and a former NMU football player.
They saw a need for such a store in Marquette, and they’re filling it.
They’re hoping to open in November.
EXCITEMENT IN MUNISING.
The much anticipated Roam Inn is opening its doors to the community on Thursday, and then welcomes its first guests on Friday.
Eighteen rooms. Specially crafted birdseye maple doors. Custom wood and metalwork throughout. 180 photographs of the local outdoor attractions throughout the inn urging guests to get out and seek adventures during all four seasons.
Co-owner Tom Dolaskie calls it a “4 star base camp.”
Roam Inn comes not a minute too soon. Munising, with Pictured Rocks, has been a huge attraction for tourists, but it’s got limited rooms. The overflow has been coming to Marquette.
SPEAKING OF WHICH.
The Nestledown B&B on Lakeshore Boulevard has just completed its first year of operation. Successful, gratifying…and exhausting for owners Ken and Sue Schauland.
They were 95% full in July and August, following a winter that saw about 25% occupancy. The upcoming color season is shaping up well.
Those are good numbers for the first year which saw a low profile opening and limited advertising.
And here’s what’s really promising for this Scandinavian-themed B&B: the Trip Advisor ratings.
Get this: 153 guests have rated the place in the last year. 150 have rated Nestledown “excellent” and three have rated it “very good.” Nothing lower.
Quoting a review from just a week ago: “Nestledown was the finest Bed and Breakfast we have ever stayed in period.”
Doesn’t get any better than that.
WE’RE NUMBER 79.
That’s the number assigned to Northern Michigan University in the latest ratings of American universities and colleges by U.S. News and World Report. The ratings broadly gauge “academic excellence.”
Actually, the number 79 requires some clarification. NMU is ranked the 79th best regional university in the Midwest, and the 19th best public school in the Midwest. It doesn’t have a national ranking.
Now, Michigan Tech (“the Harvard of the UP”) does have a national ranking. It’s considered the 118th best national university, and the 56th best public school.
You’re wondering about U of M and Michigan State? Michigan is rated the 27th best national university (4th among public schools), and State is ranked 82nd best overall (33rd among public schools nationally.)
As for NMU’s lackluster rating, it’s never pretended to be Ivy League. It’s a solid institution of higher education, geared toward students who don’t want to mortgage their futures for a four year degree.
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