Marquette’s plan for its SmartZone is on the fast-track.
City manager Bill Vajda expects to have the SmartZone application submitted to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation by May.
The decision on exactly what to do and where and how would be made in June.
And then work begins in July.Yeah, that would be fast-track.
The project will bring in and nurture new technology-based companies, something all cities dream about. The focus here in Marquette would likely be health sciences (NMU’s strength) and agricultural sciences (Michigan State).
The original SmartZone in the UP, of course, is the one started by Michigan Tech. Tech, along with Houghton and Hancock, as well as NMU and Michigan State, are all playing a part in planning for Marquette’s SmartZone.
We want good, forward-looking jobs in Marquette? We may have found them.
Silence on the hospital relocation front.
Vajda says he’s heard nothing recently from the site-selection folks, and Randy Girard, the Marquette Township manager, says it’s been almost two weeks since he’s had conversations with them.
The site-selection officials did their local groundwork a few weeks back, then retired to their offices back in Nashville. Best guess is they’ll come up with their recommendation for the future site of MGH and forward it to Duke LifePoint within 30-45 days, and then Duke LifePoint will make its momentous decision.
A tidy little $290 million dollars is on the line for the two contenders for the site–the city of Marquette and the Township–along with the prestige of being home of the biggest and most important hospital in the UP.
Girard says, regardless of the decision, the Township will continue to grow at 7-10% a year. There’s plenty of land, and people and businesses want to locate there. The big box stores are clear evidence of that.
Downtown, there have been rumors that things were a little shaky at L’Attitude and Elizabeth’s Chop House.
Couldn’t be further from the truth, according to co-owner Tommy Wahlstrom.
Take a look at the newly refurnished L’Attitude. New booths, new chairs, new bar stools, new artwork. Impressive and much, much more comfortable.
Up next, a new 30 foot long heater to be suspended from the ceiling on the outside patio. Nice. It’ll make those 52 degree days outside bearable. The heater arrives this week. Also coming up, new tube lighting and a new menu.
What’s been the impact of the new restaurant, Sol Azteca, upstairs? Not surprisingly, it’s increased the liquor revenue at L’Attitude because the Mexican restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license yet.
As for the Wahlstroms’ other restaurant, Elizabeth’s Chop House, 2013 was the best year yet. Marquette’s most expensive and arguably classiest restaurant has struggled through the recession years, like just about every other restaurant in town, but last year was a breakthrough. This year should be even better.
That’s good news for fine diners in Marquette.
More restaurant news.
Coco’s, just across the street from McCarty’s Cove and Picnic Rocks, is taking a turn toward Margaritaville, UP style. It’s busting out a wall on the north side of the building, installing a 900 square foot deck that’ll be shaded from the direct sun, and then lining up bands on the deck this summer. They’ll play Thursday through Sunday.
They’re also considering bringing in a few truckloads of sand and setting up a volleyball court on site.
And they’re starting a remodeling of their bar this month.
Finally, it seems, Coco’s is taking advantage of its unique and attractive location just across the street from the beach.
You may have noticed that Fox UP, TV6’s junior partner in the WLUC duopoly, has a new anchor, just in from the University of Maryland.
He’s Ben Oldach. He’s young but he has a pleasant look with a nice voice and carries more authority than you might expect from a rookie. His hairdo, featuring a big wave on top along with sideburns, seems a little retro, but hairdos come and go every half century or so.
The Fox UP newscast, at 10 pm, has never drawn much of an audience. It’s actually pretty good and it features an early dose of meteorologist Karl Bohnak if you don’t feel like waiting up until 11 pm.
Overheard at Babycakes this week: a job interview with an NMU graduate who went on to get his PhD at the University of Leeds in medieval history.
He’s back in town hoping to land a job as a barista.
The message here? We need (and value) baristas more than we need medieval historians.
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