Douglas Gets Agreement From Point Pleasant Marina Owners
Douglas has gotten the thumbs up from the Point Pleasant Marina owners in terms of waiting for the city to apply for—and get a response from—a State of Michigan grant application, the result of which could be decisive as to whether or not the city purchases that marina.
The announcement came at Monday night’s council meeting by Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere.
The city does not have a public marina; getting one is part of an ongoing endeavor so as to get more public waterfront access. Doing so, city officials say, will enhance opportunities for the community to acquire federal and state grants to make overall waterfront and harbor improvements.
A public marina would also give a boost to the local economy and make downtown more vibrant, it is further cited.
For now, the city has set its focus on two possible options: public acquisition of Point Pleasant Marina or the construction of a new marina at Wade’s Bayou, a floating marina with transient slips.
Wade’s Bayou is already part of public property and Point Pleasant Marina, located at 201 Washington just east of Blue Star Highway Bridge, has been on the market for $1.3 million for a year now.
A successful bid for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant could yield up to 75 percent of the cost of purchase, leaving 25 percent for local matching which could be generated from revenue from the operation itself, said LeFevere, noting indications from Edgewater Resources engineer Greg Weykamp.
There may also be grant opportunities for the Wade’s Bayou project proposal, the first phase of which is estimated at $1.2 million and would include 24 slips, utilities, and bathrooms. That estimation includes the required dredging too.
“The Point Pleasant option is predicated on the grant opportunity that we would need to apply for (by April 1, 2017),” said LeFevere.
Max Matteson and life partner Bud Baty purchased and renovated Point Pleasant Marina in 1984.
The two have actively supported countless local causes designed to improve life in the community, thereby making them ideal business partners for the city, some officials say.
In 1994 they were instrumental in the successful re-development of downtown Douglas.
Matteson was a key figure in starting the Douglas Downtown Authority (DDA) and the Douglas Socials at Beery Field.
The Wade’s Bayou location has easily the best connection to downtown and has the most potential for expansion, up to 50 slips, but it does come with a higher initial cost for dredging and is a more complicated start-up operation, Weykamp has said.
Point Pleasant presents a chance to purchase private property for a public benefit and it is viable, on-going operation, but only comes with 14 slips, presents the least expansion potential and does require infrastructure improvements, officials say.
Local marina owner RJ Peterson (Tower Marine) has called both potential marinas “ludicrous for city officials to consider as they will not provide the economic return of taxpayers’ money that LeFevere is trying to sell everyone on,
“I can tell you that the state grant money LeFevere and the others are thinking they may get to pay for developing either one of those sites is just not going to be there,” warned Peterson.
Tower Marine is up for sale, he says, and makes much more sense for the city to negotiate for if they want a public marina. Peterson has also cautioned that if his operation is not acquired by Douglas, it could easily be sold to developers simply for the land value, but that could crippled local economies by shutting down the boating dollars in the area.