Manistique Municipal Marina
Today, an informal meeting of several Manistique DDA members took place at Manistique City Hall as
not enough members were present for a quorum. A discussion centered around ongoing ideas and
concepts concerning development of the Manistique municipal marina property, and adjacent land, into
a DDA view of an enhanced multiple use property it might become. Some of the ideas, from previous
discussions, were incorporated into and presented as the artist's concepts, below, for greater
understanding of the "big picture".
It was stated by DDA member "Wally" Leggett, in response to an audience member question, that it was
the DDA's view that the Manistique municipal marina was secondary in importance to the development
ideas considered. It was his view, and a view of other members, that the marina does very little
business because it is too far from primary marine traffic routes and is an end destination for
That secondary view of the Manistique marina's local value helps justify a DDA considered idea of
removing the masonry wall and chain link fence that provides significant acoustic isolation from
US2 traffic, and a degree of security for marina users. The secondary status of the marina also
makes it easier for the DDA to justify a childrens' "consolidated play area" in the adjacent open
green space between the slips and the Pizza Hut business, and other ideas that generate noise and
compromise security of marina users.
It was emphasized at the meeting that no decisions of any sort had been made by the Manistique DDA,
relative to any and all ideas considered, and that it was appropriate and desirable that any and all
ideas be considered, consistent with appropriate development of the property.
A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE:
If these are the best of times and they continue for some time, if Schoolcraft County develops
because property, labor and the cost of living is significantly lower than many other parts of the
country, then what reasonable marina alternatives are there for those that own larger boats
consistent with affluence? Is it wise to reduce the value of the marina to transients and locals
because of a history determined as much by local choice as location and national economics?
The history of Manistique municipal marina, as I have viewed much of it from 1983, has been one of
a orphan community asset that local government never promoted, hired the inept to run, and sold the
use of the taxpayer subsidized facilities to a bunch of local good ol' boys at unlawfully low
rates. The "giveaway" program ended some years ago when the City of Manistique was made aware that its
pricing policies were inconsistent with the terms of the marina development grants. Promotion by
the City of Manistique, and Schoolcraft County has been almost non existent.
Are decisions being based on a checkered history mix of hearsay and imagination?
Would the history have been different if the marina had not been under the influence and
jurisdiction of a "private club" and then deserted when Waterways Commission rates were charged?
If it had been run as a desirable community "business" asset, would it be considered secondary, now?
Does the historical lack of promotion and community development make it a secondary community asset?
Does a true historical record of Manistique Municipal Marina revenues and expenses exist from which
to justify a "secondary" status? Are some of the ideas considered by the Manistique DDA incompatible
with a quality marina facility?
If the City owns a revenue producing marina by contract, and must operate it in accordance with
state guidelines, would it not be wiser to enhance its value to boaters and minimize its drain of
All sorts of community enhancing "giveaway" projects can be built, but they all cost money to build,
operate, and maintain at the expense of a crippled Manistique infrastructure. Manistique movers
and shakers are long on ideas for community activities and facilities but short of action to make
them pay for themselves in a manner that "Joe and Jane Average" can relate to.
Paul Olson, representing the Kiwanis Club, made a presentation to the Manistique City Council, last
night, concerning Kiwanis donated and maintained additions to the childrens' play area of the marina.
On behalf of the club, he sought and received unanimous council approval for placement of another ship
and fort to complement the ship already in place.