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October 22, 2018 1:55 am

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A Small Public Marina In Douglas Is One Step Closer To Reality, Say Officials


Douglas officials are one step closer to realizing their ultimate goal of building a public marina, a feature which does not exist anywhere in the Saugatuck area at this time.

The Douglas City Council at its Monday’s meeting gave Edgewater Resources the green light to develop the engineering plans and solicit bids for the first phase of what is a multi-phase endeavor.

Edgewater is charging the city $4,800 for the job.

And if the city decides to move forward once that is completed, Phase One construction—the cost for which the city has budgeted $160,000 in the current Parks and Recreation Capital Outlay—could begin next spring and be open to the public by May of 2018, according to the engineering firm.

Phase One will not have utilities or finger piers and likely be operated as a transient facility for both short-term “shopper docks” and short-term overnight visitors.

“These are floating docks that are intended to stay in year-round,” Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told the council.

The city is also eyeing the now-privately owned Point Pleasant Marina for possible public purchase. In the spring the city applied for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant that, if awarded, would yield 75 percent of the more than $1 million needed to purchase that marina.

“We have approached each project in a way that they are intended to stand on their own and we would be very happy if we are able to secure the Point Pleasant grant funding,” LeFevere informed The Local Observer.

Furthermore, the city has not entirely given up on the idea of having Tower Marine become a public marina if it could ever strike an agreement with owner RJ Peterson; discussions are currently at a standstill, having been on an on-and-off trajectory since 2010.

The Wade’s Bayou marina proposal is being hailed by city leaders as a feature that will address unmet transient dockage needs and provide a financial boost to downtown Douglas.

“There are not a lot of places where you can tie your boat, get out and go eat and shop,” said Douglas City Council Member Lisa Greenwood.

She and colleagues also noted that a public marina will also give the Saugatuck area a boost when it comes to seeking federal and state grants related to the Kalamazoo Harbor and overall waterfront improvements.

The Tri-Community’s dredging and disposal efforts related to the river have been unsuccessful so far because, for example, State of Michigan dredging funds cannot be used because the Kalamazoo Harbor because it is a recreational harbor, and not designated as a commercial harbor.

Edgewater’s goal is to build on the work it has completed to date on the Douglas Waterfront Master Plan— which the city hired the engineer to create and which was completed in 2016—and consider recreation, parking and accessibility for all residents and tourists, the firm representatives have said.

The big picture at Wade’s Bayou is to have two main piers with broadside docking that will provide a total of 44 slips, operated as a seasonal or transient facility.

Edgewater has estimated the entire project at $2.3 million, which will entail dredging of some of the harbor and creation of a proper facility to store that dredging.

Phase One includes the first 120-foot-long, 8-foot-wide main pier, a concrete approach walkway, a 50-foot ADA compliant gangway, and an accessible kayak launch.

A Small Public Marina In Douglas Is One Step Closer To Reality, Say Officials

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