Esky marketplace nears completion

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press Members of the Escanaba Downtown Development Authority tour the new marketplace under construction while crews work on landscaping and other finishing touches Thursday. The project is expected to be completed next week, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for July 14.

ESCANABA — Escanaba’s new marketplace being constructed downtown is expected to be 100 percent complete by next week, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was informed during its monthly meeting held Thursday at the site.

Dan Occhietti, of Industrial Maintenance Services Inc. (IMS) of Escanaba, the general contractor, updated the DDA board on the progress of the $1.1 million project and gave members a tour while crews continued to lay sod, do finishing work on the pavilion, and clean up the area.

Occhietti said work that remains to be done on the marketplace includes further landscaping on the property, installation of a vinyl fence, and construction of a playground. A neighboring property owner has yet to paint a wall alongside the marketplace courtyard.

City Manager Jim O’Toole noted the city is waiting on the state to release grant monies to purchase equipment for the new city playground, which will be located in a fenced-in area on the south side of the pavilion.

Approximately half of the $1.1 million marketplace project has been funded through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In addition to the playground grant, other funding sources include a 2 Percent Hannahville Indian Community Grant, an internal loan through the city, a DTE Energy grant, and DDA funds.

After touring the site Thursday morning, DDA Chair Sue Parker commented on the progress of the project.

“All in all, I think it’s going pretty good,” she said, adding it’s nice to see the finishing touches taking place on a project that has been a goal for the DDA for several years.

Construction on the marketplace began last August 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. Work resumed in May and should be completed by the end of the month.

Mayor Marc Tall, a DDA member, said he is pleased with the new community gathering place that will be used for the farmers market and various city events and will be available to rent for parties and other activities.

“I think the marketplace is a beautiful addition to our downtown area and to the community,” commented Tall.

Construction fencing that has been around the site is expected to be removed next week, allowing public access onto the property. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for July 14 to officially open the marketplace.

According to DDA Assistant Judy Schroeder, the marketplace’s stage is being rented on July 21 for a Bonifas Art Center event. The marketplace will also be the site of Rib Fest during the downtown Sidewalk Sales on July 29.

In other business Thursday, the DDA board was updated on facade projects currently underway and upcoming facade projects planned for downtown businesses.

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