Marquette, Michigan – November 21, 2013 – The MTBA met on November 19. Among the items discussed were median beautification along the west end of the US-41 corridor and potential changes to the corridor to improve the flow of traffic. Several topics of concern for both the Township and MDOT include:
Beautification and Cleanup of the Medians – Mowing, sand in the median, trash removal, directional signals and lighting were discussed.
Peggy Loy of the Township Beautification committee said 15 years ago they had numerous planting areas in the median. At that time, people got discouraged when grass and weeds overgrew the flowers.
The Township now has a blanket mowing permit from MDOT and can mow more than monthly, even weekly, to keep the grass down for the 2.7 miles of median that are in the Township. The Business Association highly supports that and thanks Doug Gentz from Michigan Sales & Equipment for providing the tractor and the fuel.
The proposal for plants and flowers is to start in front of Walmart and Dr. Wilkinson’s office and beautify that area. South Marquette has several planting areas of petunias, but their planting area is only 2-3 feet wide, which is easily manageable. The Township median areas are much larger. Township Planner, Jason McCarthy suggested planting enclosed rain gardens — colorful natural areas that would choke out weeds and add beauty to the median.
Of concern, of course, is long-term maintenance of the plants. McCarthy says MDOT doesn’t have funds to cover this, nor does the county. He recommends applying for a broad scope grant of $5-6 million. It would require 26% in kind contributions from public and private partnerships.
Service groups are encouraged to volunteer as North Star Academy and Rotary have done.
Economic Development of the Township
- Recently, the KBIC gas station proposed plan was approved by the Township for the vacant lot on US 41 by Gander Mountain. Construction will begin this fall and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2014. The KBIC formed a separate corporation recognized under the tribal government. It is still not clear whether that corporation is recognized by the State of Michigan or how the taxes on gas will be handled. However, the proposed site plan met all zoning requirements in Marquette Township and was therefore approved.
- A commercial kennel is coming to the old Northwoods Supper Club complex, just west of Menards. It is a mixed-use request and a commercial kennel also falls under a special use license. They are planning retail space near the west end of the facility and a big, indoor play area.
- Kay Jewelers will be moving into an empty suite in the Wells Fargo Center next to Target.
- Ulta, the beauty and cosmetics store and salon, opened without fanfare.
- The Teriyaki Bowl is up and running in the old Quiznos location by Starbucks.
- A new business is coming to the Lindberg property just east of Gordon Foods. The unnamed party is requesting two controversial curb cuts for access along the already busy (if not dangerous) corridor along US-41.
- The Township Planner, Jason McCarthy, is still reaching out to the hospital. Duke has a group of planners reviewing all options. If they choose to develop in the Township, McCarthy is ready to work diligently on that.
- A new dump side for the Township was also proposed.
McCarthy also purchased a version of Google Earth for the Township. It shows every business on the map with links to their websites. He hopes to launch the new Township web site and Township Facebook soon.
It should be noted that Marquette Township is among the fastest-growing townships in Michigan. Twenty years ago, the state equalized value (SEV) was $54 million. Today, it has grown to $270 million.