Protecting Our Lakeshore, Trails, & Environment

When I was running in 2019, I promised to preserve our public lakeshore, trails, and forestlands, take local action on climate change, and finally bring back glass recycling. Over the past 3 years, I have kept those promises, voting to permanently preserve 578 acres of the Heartwood Forest, sell the 25-acre Heartwood Parcel 13 property to the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN), add more than 6 acres and 1,100 feet of shoreline to the City’s public lakeshore, and create a Climate Action Work Plan to eliminate the City of Marquette’s carbon emissions by 2050. I also voted to fund the Lakeshore Boulevard project, which will create many acres of new public parkland, wetlands, dunes, swales, and both sand and pebble beach while protecting our lakeshore from erosion and coastal flooding. And after 3 years with no glass recycling option at all for City residents, and at least 8 years since any glass was recycled in Marquette County, we finally brought back glass recycling in the City of Marquette in 2021.

Preliminary plans for Phase II of the Lakeshore Boulevard project.

As should be clear from my stances on housing and economic development, I am certainly not opposed to development and I do not believe in the NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) philosophy that rejects change and encourages stagnation and exclusion. However, I have consistently opposed projects that I felt were contributing to overdevelopment of our lakeshore and which were not good deals for everyday City residents and taxpayers. I was one of only 2 City Commissioners who voted against the controversial Vault Marquette/Savings Bank project (which burdened City taxpayers with nearly $8 million in debt with what I felt were insufficient community benefits in return) and the Parcel 2A luxury townhome project (which were originally supposed to be “affordable for the average household in Marquette” and which ended up selling for $450-$600,000). I was also one of the 3 Commissioners who voted against the Hemlock Park development, in which the City agreed to borrow $2 million to fund infrastructure for a project which was originally supposed to be “middle-income housing,” but ended up only producing 6 homes priced below $300,000, with 90% of the units going for $300-$400,000. These weren’t good deals for the people of Marquette, and the reality is that preserving our public lakeshore isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also good for our economy and our tax base. If re-elected I will continue to listen to my constituents and vote my conscience on all future development proposals which impact our lakeshore and forestlands.

If I am re-elected, I will advocate for the following measures to preserve our lakeshore and our natural environment for future generations:

  1. A conservation & recreation easement to permanently preserve the public lakeshore from Lighthouse Park to Presque Isle– this could be modeled on the conservation & recreation easement which the City approved to protect 578 acres of the Heartwood Forest in 2020.
  2. Create a new Lakeshore Zoning Overlay District in collaboration with the Marquette Planning Commission to regulate future development near the lakeshore and follow in the footsteps of past generations of City leaders by preserving public access to Lake Superior.
  3. Complete the final phase of the Lakeshore Boulevard project, restoring Marquette’s natural coastal environment and protect our lakeshore from erosion and coastal flooding due to more frequent severe storms and record-high lake levels.
  4. Create & implement a Climate Action Work Plan to reduce the City of Marquette’s carbon emissions to zero no later than 2050.