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Press Release

June 1,, 2011

CONTACT:   Matt Bach
Dir. of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317 or

Marquette Wins Region 7 Community Excellence Award in League Competition

City Wins for Waterfront Safety Initiative; Now in Running for Statewide Honor


region 7

From left, Marquette Commissioner John DePetro, Marquette Assistant City Manager Karl Zueger, and Marquette Commissioner Robert Niemi, receive the Region 7 Community Excellence Award from Robert Beaupry, Munising Commissioner and Region 7 Vice Chair.

View and download additional photos free from this event here.

Houghton, MICHIGAN - A comprehensive waterfront safety initiative from Marquette won the Michigan Municipal League’s Region 7 Community Excellence Award, Friday (May 27, 2011) and now Marquette has the chance to win the statewide CEA honor.

Assistant City Manager and CEA presenter Karl Zueger says, “As Michigan transitions largely from an industrial to recreational coastline, Marquette’s goal as a 21st Century Community is to create a safe and enjoyable Great Lakes experience.”

The League’s Region 7 covers Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in its entirety.
League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto said, “Representing a waterfront community myself, I’m excited to see what’s happening in Marquette. I feel a variety of the efforts are applicable in all of Michigan’s port cities, and here’s a problem-solving model.”

Zueger outlined in his presentation how the Marquette Waterfront Safety Task Force is a grassroots effort collaborating with surfers, kite-boarders, the city, Northern Michigan University, a Michigan Sea Grant specialist and many others.

After a heartbreaking summer with four drowning deaths and a beautiful but daunting 10 miles of city coastline, the task force undertook problem solving by creating an incident breakdown reaching from 1961 until the present. Incidents were mapped, identified by affiliation such as students, locals and visitors, and by swimming ability.

Northern Michigan University is partnering to create two videos, an animation video for statewide school use and one for adults.  Multiple other partnership efforts are underway, such as an increased effort to teach all students swimming, NMU orientation on water safety, maps on hotel pillows indicating safe areas, increased beachfront signage, instructional postings to “flip, float, follow” in strong current areas along with a loaner board, and a new buoy and flag system.

The initiative provides a model that can be adapted statewide by waterfront communities. Further, the city has partnered with the National Weather Service to install a current meter in Marquette with the intent to correlate weather and resulting currents. The result of the study will be to predict when dangerous currents occur throughout the Great Lakes.

Marquette’s waterfront appeal is featured in a recent issue of Smithsonian magazine that highlights Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

For more about the City of Marquette’s Waterfront Safety Task Force, go here. Marquette will now go on to compete for the statewide CEA honor against the winners of the other six regions during the League’s Annual Convention Oct. 4-7, 2011 in Grand Rapids.

For more information contact, Matt Bach, communications director for the Michigan Municipal League at (734) 669-6317 or


The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.




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