Marketplace nears completion

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press Construction of Escanaba’s Downtown Development Authority’s marketplace, pictured above this morning, is expected to be completed in a couple weeks. The $1.1 million project includes a pavilion with kitchen and storage facilities, a stage, a playground, and a plaza area with seating and a gas fire pit.

ESCANABA — Construction is progressing on Escanaba’s new marketplace, which is expected to be completed by July 1, according to Downtown Development Director (DDA) Ed Legault. He presented an update during Thursday’s Escanaba City Council meeting.

“We’re getting very close… It’s coming along nicely,” said Legault, giving a brief rundown of what needs to be done on the marketplace, which will serve as a gathering place for various community events and activities.

Legault said the gas fire pit was installed Thursday in the plaza area on the west side of the property. Seating, walkways, stonework and additional landscaping are nearing completion.

A final concrete pour was scheduled to take place today, he added, noting appliances will be installed in the kitchen once the building is complete. The playground area is now undergoing sitework prior to the playground equipment being installed.

Construction began last August at the site, located on the 1500 block of Ludington Street, with work lasting through December. Much of the 1,800-square-foot pavilion structure and a separate stage were built prior to crews taking a break for winter.

Once the weather improved, work on the project resumed in May. The general contractor is Industrial Maintenance Services Inc. (IMS) of Escanaba.

Legault presented the marketplace update at Thursday’s meeting after council approved hiring a grant administrator to close out the project’s paperwork.

Council approved a contract with Peter VanSteen for $14,100, which will be funded through a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

According to City Controller Melissa Becotte, a certified grant administrator is responsible for gathering all the information which is required by the MEDC in order to release funding and to close out the project.

Approximately half of the $1.1 million marketplace project has been funded through the MEDC. Additional funding sources include a 2 Percent Hannahville Indian Community Grant, an internal loan through the city, a DTE Energy grant, and DDA funds.

In other business Thursday, council approved lease agreements regarding city-owned ball fields, a concession stand, a playground, an archery range, and the senior center.

Council approved an amendment to the city’s appropriations ordinance to account for over-expenditures and under-budgeted items during the 2016-17 fiscal year as required by the state each year.

In regards to the city hiring a new manager, Mayor Marc Tall informed council the negotiating team will be meeting with Patrick Jordan, of Muskegon. On June 5, council chose Jordan to replace current City Manager Jim O’Toole, who is retiring June 30 after a 29-year career with the city.

A background check on Jordan is underway, added Tall, also noting the negotiating team is hoping to have a contract agreement in place by the end of the month.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,