MARQUETTE — A whole lot of changes are coming to the City of Marquette. Just last week, construction got underway for the new UP Health System – Marquette hospital. And Friday, the city itself broke ground on a new Municipal Service Center.

“This is what stirs the economic development,” said State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet). “You see all of these people here today. Everybody’s working, they’re happy, and we’re going to build more and more. It’s going to be the best place to live in Michigan.”

The City of Marquette broke ground on a brand new Municipal Service Center on Wright Street Friday morning. The almost $18 million project is the result of the city selling its previous center to Duke LifePoint to make way for the new hospital campus.

“The money will be reimbursed through the Brownfield process, which in essence is: the taxes that are being paid by the hospital will go directly into paying for this property,” said City Manager Mike Angeli.

“It’s about 100,000 square foot facility. It has parking, it has a wash bay, it has maintenance bays – very similar to the facility they’ve had,” said Jim Ebli, President of Gundlach-Champion, the firm responsible for the design and build for the project.

Gundlach-Champion is utilizing as much Upper Peninsula talent as possible.

Ebli added, “We try to get as [many] local contractors doing our work as we can. On this particular job, they account for 75 percent of the work.”

Getting to this point hasn’t been without concern. City Commissioner Sara Cambensy voted against the tax incentives given to fund this project, citing financial concerns including the lack of an agreement requiring Duke LifePoint to have a plan going forward for the old hospital.

“For me, it’s always nice to have it in a binding agreement so that the taxpayers are protected and our community isn’t left with something that we have to figure out eventually,” said Cambensy.

City officials hope to be using the new service center facility by the fall of 2017.