ROGERS CITY - The United States Department of Agriculture will grant Rogers City $24,000 toward buying a floating fuel dock for its marina, something the harbor master said will be a major improvement for users and staff alike.
Harbor Master Roger Wenzel said the new dock will make it safer for marina staff to fuel boats, he said. With their current setup, dock hands have to reach down to fuel boats, forcing them to lean over the edge of the fueling dock. The new floating dock will allow them to fuel boats at waist level, making it easier for boaters as well.
"We aren't going to have boaters reaching up to the high walls to fuel," he said.
Having a dock consistently near water level also will make it easier for boaters to get on deck, especially those in wheelchairs, Wenzel said. It'll be connected to an adjacent floating dock by ramp, and to the current fueling dock by a track on the wall. This will hold the dock in place and allow it to slide up and down as water levels change.
"It'll just be a better deal all around," he said.
Rogers City officials recently found out the city will receive the grant from USDA Rural Development, City Manager Mark Slown said. The city will use the grant as a matching portion for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Waterways Commission grant of $27,000. That was put on hold because the city one of many in the state receiving emergency funds to dredge its marina. The Waterways grant will be used as a match for the USDA grant.
"Next year, we'll have access to the grant funding," he said. "It was delayed by Waterways, but timing will be no problem because we weren't planning on doing this until 2014 anyway."
Slown and Wenzel said the plan is to have the new fuel dock ready by the start of the 2014 boating season. The new dock shouldn't interfere with the marina channel near the current dock, Wenzel said.
Overall, the new fuel dock is expected to cost about $54,000, Slown said. This means the city will need to use about $3,000 of marina funds to complete the project.