State Of Michigan Awards Permit To Douglas To Build Public Marina
The State of Michigan has conferred a permit to build the first-ever public marina in the Saugatuck area, Douglas city officials announced during Monday’s meeting.
“It’s a big step forward for us,” said Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere about the city’s idea of constructing a floating marina at Wade’s Bayou.
The city manager presented council with the official permit issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality authorizing the city to construct the marina, including dredging, installation of a seawall, installation of open pile docks, finger piers, etc.
In 2015, the city hired the engineering firm Edgewater Resource to conduct a feasibility study for the public marina at the west end of Center Street, near the local popular park and kayak launch area.
“The thing about having a floating dock is that you could move it and place it anywhere you want,” Edgewater Resources President Gregory Weykamp told Douglas City Council back in 2016 during one of his reports.
Total estimates for a Wade’s Bayou marina have come in at approximately $2.3 million, but Edgewater has indicated the project could easily be done in phases, and giving that it is a public marina, that opens the doors to getting state and federal grants.
The floating marina could provide up to 24 slips.
A public marina is a coveted feature because it will provide transient dockage, enhance public access to the waterfront and give an economic boost to the area, as boaters will be attracted by a place to dock and have a downtown nearby to shop and dine, say city leaders.
Douglas officials long flirted with the idea of purchasing the local Tower Marine, but that has gone by the wayside as both parties—marina owner RJ Peterson and city officials—accuse each other of bad faith and not wanting to communicate about the potential sale in earnest.
Peterson over the past few years has pitched his interest in selling his popular marina to the city and has also approached Saugatuck officials as well.
Another option the city has explored is purchasing Point Pleasant Marina, located at 201 Washington just east of the Blue Star Highway Bridge, another privately owned marina.
Point Pleasant has been on the market for $1.3 million. Compared to Wade’s Bayou, it comes with fewer slips, 14; less expansion potential; and requires infrastructure improvements.
“Keep in mind you have a lot of dredging to do. It (would) also include construction of a CDF (Contained Disposal Facility) for the marina as well as overall harbor dredging.
“I can’t exclude these things if we are going to make a fair comparison (between the $1.3 million, 14-slip Point Pleasant and the $1.2 million, 24 slip Wade’s Bayou),” Weykamp has told council.