Revitalizing Marquette’s historic ore dock is the goal of a recently formed nonprofit group.
Friends of the Ore Dock is holding a series of public meetings to get feedback from the community and help decide how to turn the Lower Harbor waterfront into a special place that everyone can enjoy.
Some of the initial plans for the BotEco Center include building a multi-use atrium that would feature a year-round indoor botanical garden, an ecological education and research venue and space for various types of community entertainment, all while preserving the historical value of the ore dock.
“Kind of a transformation of the ore dock,” BotEco Center board president Gisele Duehring said. “Right now, it is dormant, and it can be used again. It was used for such hard work and industrial work before. This way, it can be used for a restful time, a place where you can relax and re-energize.”
Friends of the Ore Dock estimate that the project would take ten years and $40 million dollars to complete, but there are some legal issues concerning maritime use to contend with.
“The Department of Environmental Equality has some regulations on how structures out in the water, especially the Great Lakes, can be used,” Duehring said. “We have to prove that this would be lake-dependent. We had a lot of questions, and we will delve into that with the people who have the specifics.”
The community-based organization is looking for more input, donations and volunteers as it moves forward. For more information, visit its website.