$9.5M in harbor plans will bring calm water to Mackinaw City
Written by Traverse City Record Eagle   
Thursday, 31 March 2005 08:52
A new state harbor of refuge will be built at an old car ferry dock over the next several years, beginning with two breakwater walls and navigation lights this year.
????? The site was last regularly used in 1957 before the Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic and is now leased by passenger ferry companies for long-term parking lots. Jeff Lawson, village manager in Mackinaw City, said it will be nice to see the underutilized state dock redeveloped.
? ? ? "We're hoping it brings additional boaters to the area. So from an economic standpoint, it could be a big boost for us," Lawson said.
? ? ? Ron Olson, parks and recreation division chief for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said the project should have a positive financial impact on the community.
? ? ? "We're very excited to begin work this spring," Olson said.
? ? ? The new Mackinaw State Harbor will cost $9.5 million to build, state officials said. Construction begins with breakwater walls and navigation lights to form a calm water area.
? ? ? Durocher Marine of Cheboygan, a division of Kokosing Construction Company, was awarded a nearly $1.5 million contract to install 73,800 tons of stone for 850 feet of breakwater and two navigation lights, to be completed by January 2006. Future phases include harbor buildings and floating piers for boaters looking for a calm spot to moor during bad weather.
? ? ? A final project completion date in 2007 depends on state funding, said Colleen Steinman, DNR spokeswoman. She said the state hoped to meet the regional demand for slips able to accommodate larger boats and may build as many as 125 transient slips.
? ? ? "There is a real lack of large slips in the Mackinac Straights area," Steinman said.
? ? ? She also said if funding dries up, the breakwater walls will at least provide a "natural stopping point" for boaters during bad weather, even if they can't dock their boats. The project is funded by the State Waterways Fund, which collects boater registration fees and marine fuel sales taxes.
? ? ? Steinman said the harbor's design must maintain an access area for the state Department of Transportation, in the event traffic cannot cross the Mackinac Bridge and a car ferry service must be reinstated.
 
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