Lakeshore Boulevard preps for makeover

Senator Carl Levin and Senator Debbie Stabenow recently announced a $2.3 million grant for the Michigan Coastal Management Program to protect public access and recreation areas on over 3,100 miles of shoreline throughout the state.

The city of Marquette and the Superior Watershed Partnership tapped into that same set of funds back in 2012 to give Lakeshore Boulevard in Marquette a bit of a facelift.

ABC 10’s Rick Tarsitano has the details.

These boulders, which are referred to as rip-rap rocks, are blocking public access to the beach

Marquette’s illustrious coastlines provide residents and tourists alike with miles of breathtaking scenery. Whether it’s a fun-filled day at the beach with the family or a routine jog to Presque Isle, Lake Shore Boulevard’s picturesque paths get plenty of use. But one 3,000-foot stretch is heavily armored with jagged boulders, making it difficult for visitors to access the beachfront.

That’s where the Superior Watershed Partnership’s $58,000 grant comes into play. Over the past year, they were able to assess the situation and come up with five plans to address the issue.

“The five alternatives provide a wide range of options.  The first alternative is to basically to remove the rock rip-rap and let nature take its course, which would require us to move the road, and so on and so forth. And then over a hundred years you lose 150 feet of shoreline because it recedes at a foot and a half a year.  And then the options kind of increase in intensity from the first alternative,” said Dennis Stachewicz, Marquette’s City Planner.

The second alternative would replace what is already there with a more aesthetic rock formation, creating 26-acres of public space which could be turned into a park.

It also “relocates Lakeshore Boulevard, elevates it a little bit so you get a view. The third alternative does that, but then it adds a couple of pocket beaches, and then you move up from there through your five different alternatives. So there could be a wide range of alternatives, you know, from doing nothing to moving all the way up to basically creating a beach all the way along there. So the community was asked to give us preferences, we did a preference survey. That survey closed August 8th, and I’m in the process of tabulating those results now. Once we tabulate the results, we will come up with a recommendation so we can move forward on phase two of our grant. We received a second grant, which is close to $40,000 to help us engineer the project once an option was selected. So that’s what we’ll be doing next,” Stachewicz added.

Then, once the proper funding is secured, the only hurdle left is a seal of approval from the city commission. So, within the next few years, the view from Lake Shore Boulevard could be a whole lot brighter.