In a true measure of bipartisan and bicameral teamwork, state Sen. Tom Casperson, (R-Escanaba) and Rep.John Kivela (D-Marquette) have worked together to secure funding to dredge the Marquette Harbor.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation last week to spend $21 million on emergency dredging of 58 harbors, including ten marinas in the Upper Peninsula: the Big Bay Harbor of Refuge, the Grand Marais Marina, the Cedarville Harbor, the Hessel Marina, the Escanaba Municipal Marina, the Naubinway Marina, the Manistique Municipal Marina, the Menominee Marina, the Munising Bayshore Marina and the Cedar River State Harbor.
However, the Marquette Marina was overlooked despite its critical need for dredging. In response, Casperson and Kivela came together immediately in an attempt to rectify the oversight, recognizing that the harbor is vital to the area.
“The lower harbor supports the Harbor of Refuge, the Mattson Park Seawall and commercial fishery operations, and it also hosts some Department of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife vessels,” said Casperson. “Clearly it was critical for Representative Kivela and I to come together to persuade the department to correct what was simply an unfortunate oversight.”
The teamwork and advocacy of Casperson and Kivela has resulted in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently issuing a letter to the city that stated “The Department of Natural Resources is pleased to inform your community that Governor Rick Snyder has just signed the bill that establishes a budget to implement the 2013 Emergency Dredging Plan. [Marquette is now] included in the plan, based upon your estimate of dredge needs.”
“As mayor of Marquette, I worked on the strategic plan for the dredging of the Presque Isle Harbor,” said Kivela. Therefore I thoroughly understand how critical the Marquette Harbor is to the entire area. As a result, I am glad to see the DNR recognize its importance as well, and grateful to the Department and Senator Casperson for the steps both took to help.”
Casperson, who expressed his sincere appreciation to DNR Director Keith Creagh for getting personally involved, echoed Kivela’s sentiments.
“It simply goes to show what can be done when we work together and focus on solving issues,” Casperson said.
The city of Marquette now needs to adopt a resolution supporting the DNR’s offer and execute an agreement with the state. It is expected that the Marquette County City Commission will act immediately on the resolution, with a vote coming possibly as soon as Monday evening, April 8.