L’Anse marina expansion is moving forward

L’ANSE – Progress continues to be made toward an eventual large-scale expansion of the L’Anse Marina.

U.P. Engineers & Architects has been working on a feasibility study for the project, as funded by a $12,500 Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant and a match from the Downtown Development Authority. A payment for $2,388.11 was approved Monday at the twice-monthly village council meeting.

“We hope to have the study grant and everything put together with some design options for a project in December for the village council and DDA to mull over,” L’Anse Village Manager Bob LaFave said this morning in a phone interview. “Based on what we’re looking at, we’ll send it to the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers and DNR for comments. Hopefully after that phase, we’ll be able to go for construction dollars.”

About a week ago, LaFave and Trustee Leann Davis met with representatives from the Corps of Engineers and DNR at the marina to talk about potential issues during the design phase, including adjacent wetlands and a 100-year-old sunken vessel, the Northerner, near the marina from the days when L’Anse was a busy harbor.

The council had first cleared the way for the feasibility study in December, and possible plans at the site include a much larger dock with a boardwalk jutting out into Keweenaw Bay, piers on either side of a dredged area, a harbormaster building and a possible fuel dock.

“We really think it’d be a great project for the area,” LaFave said.

Construction wouldn’t likely begin until 2014, and Greg Kingstrom from UPEA is still working on collecting data, such as information about currents in the area and rates and occupancy levels at other marinas on the south shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The study should tentatively be completed in December.

Also Monday, the council unanimously approved a Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater grant application through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. According to LaFave, the village would be eligible for a 100 percent grant with a cap limit of $2 million.

“We’d really like to put together an asset management plan with a (Geographic Information System) component, but we’re still fleshing everything out with that,” LaFave said.

The asset management plan would allow the village to identify infrastructure assets, which would help with renewing permits and preparing for future construction projects. LaFave said he’d like to have the SAW grant application in before December.