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MI Waterways Commission Update


     In February, 2015, the Waterways Commission toured the new Outdoor Adventure Center and the Milliken State Harbor in downtown Detroit.  The Outdoor Center is located in the building of the previous Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works where Henry Ford was employed as an apprentice.  The company (and building) was later acquired by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company.

     In 2015, the Commission toured the Manistee Marina and surrounding Boating Access Sites in June, two Marquette Marinas in August, and Rogers City Marina in October.  Improvements were completed at Conely Point, Bolles Harbor, Dodge #4 State Park, Essexville, Marquette Presque Isle, and Detroit St. Jean Boating Access Sites.  A number of harbors also saw improvements in 2015 including Manistique, Grand Haven, and East Jordan, as well as dredging at Sebewaing, Bay City, Grand Traverse Bay (Houghton County), Frankfort, and St. Ignace.   Improvements to State Harbors and Boating Access Sites from 2010-2015 totaled over $10 million.  This does not include the $21 million of investment into the emergency dredging program.

     A database is being utilized for Parks and Recreation facilities including Lexington State Harbor and Sterling State Park Boating Access Site to inventory assets and assess the condition that will help in determining long-term capital investment.  A Five Year Capital Outlay Survey was sent to 64 Grant-in-Aid marinas.  Results from 53 responses indicated a total of $34.2 million needed for facility maintenance, upgrades, improvements, and dock replacements over the next five years.   Charettes were completed for New Baltimore and Pentwater Marinas for the Harbor Sustainability Study.

     The Commission recommended adopting a new Transient Fee Policy defined by length of vessel rather than slip size.   The Commission also supported reverting surplus of lands at Au Gres State Harbor to the City of Au Gres.  The Straits State Harbor had an increase in slip nights from 1,400 in 2014 to 2,024 in 2015.

     New projects being considered are Peshawbestown Marina, Naubinway Harbor Breakwater, Wyandotte-Bishop Park Marina, Cedarville Marina, Mackinac Island Mooring Area, and Boyne City Marina Expansion.

     The purpose of the Michigan State Waterways Commission is to advise, consider and make recommendations to the Parks and Recreation Division of the Department of Natural Resources on the development and improvement of the 82 State and Grant-In-Aid Harbors and over 1,300 Boating Access Sites.

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