Before going through the twelve planning lessons listed below, it must be noted that for many years, Marquette has been at the top of my list of favorite cities in Michigan, as well as the at the top of my list of favorite mining cities in the USA. This is not meant to disparage any other place, but only indicates how much admiration I have for this remarkable city and how its many attributes should be celebrated.
In addition, when I refer to Marquette, I am referring to both the City of Marquette and surrounding Marquette County. FYI – the current header image for the panethos.wordpress.com blog is a freighter being loaded with iron ore pellets at the Presque Isle Ore Dock in Marquette just a couple of weeks ago.
- Every city should have an iconic structure that is instantly recognizable and a source of great pride. The handsome and enormous Lower Harbor Ore Dock (see above and below) is definitely the iconic and symbolic structure of Marquette, Michigan. More about the ore dock is included in the last bullet point.
- Third Street linking downtown and Northern Michigan University is the epitome of a walkable and eclectic midtown mixed-used corridor.
- When a community embraces and celebrates its rich cultural, nautical, and industrial heritage, it presents a much more authentic and genuine experience for visitors.
- The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is the single best example this retired planner has found of a trail that combines art, history, culture, recreation, and commuting.
- The level of fine detail and forethought built into the kiosks and displays along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail are quite inspiring. In particular, the ironworker figurines set atop the mile markers/signs are a wonderful tribute to those who truly built this city and region (see photo below).
- Lake Superior makes for a magnificent backdrop (and occasional challenge) to the community planning experience and effort.
- The quality of building materials used here during the latter 19th century and early 20th century exemplify quality workmanship and stand up to the test of time and weather. This also helps them be excellent candidates for adaptive reuse projects. It’s doubtful that the fake plastic facades of recent history will ever be so durable.
- Mining cities have a certain intriguing aura that draws one to them. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is specifically, but it has something to do with the distinct interrelationship between their heritage, geology, geography, architecture, industrial archeology, and rich mix of cultures.
- Regardless of need, a tall, multi-tenant cell tower in downtown does not improve community appearance or its character. It is suggested that such a structure be removed or moved elsewhere that is less obtrusive to the continuity’s skyline.
- An abundance of year-round and seasonal recreational opportunities is a huge bonus to creating a heathy and livable community. From olympic caliber luge and ski-jumping in winter to Great Lakes surfing and scuba diving in summer, and everything in-between, the opportunities in Marquette are nearly endless. Did I mention the myriad of waterfalls to visit?
- Lakeshore Boulevard is a stunning drive along/near the city’s coastline which links historic neighborhoods and waterfront parks with new developments along the Lower Harbor such as a Hampton Inn, a Fairfield Inn that’s under construction, as well as mixed-used and multiple-family housing projects. Also, Marquette has successfully integrated beautifully landscaped roundabouts into its street and highway network.
- If the intended conversion of the retired Lower Harbor Ore Dock into a botanical and ecological center (BotEco) comes to full fruition, it has the potential of transforming Marquette from the pre-eminent city of the Upper Peninsula to that of the entire Upper Great Lakes Region of the United States and Canada. This retired planner is very excited at that prospect!