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Houghton to Hold Lakeshore Drive Open House; Share Parking Survey Cost with Developer

The City of Houghton will hold an open house to share information about the proposed Lakeshore Drive Development.

At last night’s council meeting, City Manager Eric Waara proposed that it take place February 11th between 5:30 and 7:00 at the City Center… 

The open house comes after the first substantive meeting was held recently between the city’s Lakeshore Drive Redevelopment Committee and its development partner, the Veridea Group out of Marquette.

At that meeting, several general goals were re-emphasized, including preservation and potential creation of greenspace, preservation of viewscapes, providing easy pedestrian access to the waterfront from Shelden Avenue, providing sufficient parking, and ensuring door-level access to businesses whose north sides face the current parking deck.

Out of that first meeting came a recommendation that two studies be undertaken. One would be a structural analysis of the existing parking deck. The other would be a study of parking needs throughout the entire downtown. The projected cost of the two studies would be around $50,000. Veridea has agreed to split the cost with the city, and councilors approved spending up to $25,000 to cover their share last night.

Meanwhile, the independent Houghton Waterfront Redevelopment Committee is pushing ahead with a demand for a city-wide advisory vote on the development process. Spokesman Ben Ciavala…

The group has not specified what it means by a “broader public participation process.” According to the group’s Facebook page, the ballot question will read:

“Should the sale of the waterfront parking deck property be postponed until the citizens of Houghton and other stakeholders are able to participate in an open decision-making process about future use of the property that explores other options besides a sale to a single private developer?”

The result of the vote would carry no force of law. 

There are no other issues that would appear on a city or county election in May. City officials said it would cost about $7,000 to hold the single-item vote, with additional costs incurred by the county. Clerk Ann Vollrath suggested the same result could be obtained more efficiently…

The designated state date for spring elections is Tuesday, May 5th. The May 28th date that Ciavala mentioned would be the Thursday after Memorial Day weekend.

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