Officials ready for next step at marina

ROGERS CITY — After the final presentation by Sustainable Small Harbors, city officials want to take the next steps.

The final presentation took place at the Rogers City Theater Monday. The final plans are part of other discussions and meetings scheduled last fall.

“I think it went very well,” said council member Scott McLennan. “We had more than 60 people in attendance to roll out the plans for the future. It was considerable public comment; nothing negative, quite a few questions.”

Rogers City Marina was one of six communities chosen to be part of a pilot program called “Sustainable Small Harbors.”

The program worked as a joint program between state agencies, universities and private sector groups. It’s at no cost to the community.

In October the city and the project team hosted a three day charrette –or planning meeting — where people could voice their opinions and ideas about possible future designs.

They then took the ideas discussed to create formal design plans.

Some of the concepts discussed included new comfort stations, boat repair spaces, and a possible RV park.

“The first thing we did was we had a successful meeting with their marina advisory committee,” Mark Breederland, educator and facilitator with Michigan Sea Grant Extension, said.

He said there were many new faces in attendance, to listen to the plans they described.

“We got a chance to describe the new designs,” he said. “We took the best elements of what the community told us. That’s what our slides showed.”

He said they didn’t need to change much about the designs from the last meeting.

Because the plans are a 20 year vision they will need to be done in small steps, Breederland said.

“I think there is some great opportunity here,” Breederland said. “Follow up steps include finding some external funding sources and to put them right in front of the city.”

McLennan said he was excited about the direction the city has taken.

“The harbor sustainability project gives a blueprint for improvements in the city,” he said. “The next big step would be to implement, and the follow through is going to be very crucial.”

He said the city wants to have the Team Rogers City — a group that is a cross section of government officials and business people — stay on track and move forward.

“More importantly nothing is carved in stone,” McLennan said. “They’re great ideas that drove this project. But, as we look at implementation we look at public hearings, it will be vetted fully with the public.”

He said they will have a better idea of what to do next after the Team Rogers City meeting later this week. Something the planners noted was they want to see more ideas to direct the tourists to downtown Rogers City.

“That’s when we will discover priorities and see what comes next,” he said.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.