MARQUETTE - The Lake Superior Community Partnership and the Marquette Board of Light and Power held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Tourist Park Restoration project Wednesday afternoon.
While the ribbon has been cut, officials said the project is not over.
"The dam is completed," said Erik Booth, Tourist Park restoration project manager. "We are putting the finishing touches on the powerhouse."
The Tourist Park Dam spillway is shown just after the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of the dam reconstruction project. Once the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reviews the dam, refilling should start in the next few weeks. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"We wanted to hold the ribbon cutting prior to filling so that people had a chance to come out here and see the new structures before the lake is flooded," Booth said. "This is a historic event for our community. It is also a chance to highlight the partnership between the City and the Board of Light and Power."
The previous dam was destroyed in the Dead River flood of 2003.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be reviewing the construction to ensure that the project meets standards, Booth said. Once the FERC approves the reconstruction, the MBLP will have full authorization to refill the basin, which could take another two to three weeks, Booth said.
"This dam will produce clean, reliable energy for the Marquette community and I couldn't be more proud of the effort put in by the Board of Light and Power," said Ed Angeli, chairman of the Marquette Board of Light and Power.
Angeli said the dam will produce 700 kilowatts of power for the community - not a lot of power, but still a stream of clean energy for Marquette.
"It's a very big step forward for Marquette," said Marquette Mayor John Kivela. "We are getting back income for the city-run Tourist Park and creating a safe swimming environment for Marquette."
With the basin being refilled, Tourist Park will gain new recreational features including a new beach and fishing pier.
Other recreational amenities will include 13 acres of wetlands; a disc golf course, which a local group is working to put together before the winter; a triathlon course; fish cribs; a restored boat launch wildlife structure, including purple martin, barred owl, northern saw whet owl, mallard nesting structures, osprey platform; NTN Trails; and a six-year fish stocking program. All of the new amenities will comply with standards of The Americans with Disabilities Act.
Design work on the project was done by local engineering firm AECOM.
The Central Upper Peninsula Sport Fishing Association helped design the handicapped-accessible pier.
Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.