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Marquette awarded $1.6M for harbor improvements

MARQUETTE — The city of Marquette has been awarded a $1.6 million U.S. Maritime Administration Port Infrastructure Development Program grant to improve its port facilities at the Presque Isle Harbor and the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad Ore Dock, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently announced.

“This project is a collaborative effort between the city, Cleveland-Cliffs, Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad and the Superior Watershed Partnership,” Marquette City Manager Karen Kovacs said in an email. “The SWP staff greatly assisted the city with grant proposal development, so huge kudos to them as well.”

The city of Marquette initially applied for the grant in 2020. While that was ultimately not funded, it resubmitted a proposal in July, with Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad covering matching funds of $750,000. The total cost of the project is expected to be around $2.63 million.

The grant and matching dollars will fund the project along Lakeshore Boulevard. Officials say the work will involve improving port infrastructure, dredging encroaching sediment to protect port infrastructure and depositing dredge materials on shore to enhance coastal restoration and protect road infrastructure. The project includes 11,120 linear feet of Lake Superior shoreline.

“The project is expected to begin construction quickly upon obligation of grant funds and those funds will be spent expeditiously once the project starts, with all funds anticipated to be expended by December 2024,” Kovacs said of the work.

The city’s port has historically had a large economic impact on the region, officials said.

“In 2017 it was estimated that bulk commodities that pass through the harbor generate $6.03 billion annually in business revenue and support 31,371 direct, indirect and induced jobs,” city documents state.

The grants stem from the Biden-Harris Port Action Plan. Grants were awarded to 19 states to improve port facilities.

Taylor Johnson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is tjohnson@miningjournal.net.

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