Reimagining Baraga Avenue


The Marquette Reimagining Baraga Avenue PlacePlan, which involved multiple community meetings and input from residents and business owners, focused on the block of Baraga Avenue in downtown Marquette, between Third Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. Once separated physically from downtown by railroad lines, this area of the city was nevertheless an uninviting pedestrian corridor, due to an uninviting streetscape and breaks in the city’s urban fabric.

Key elements of the design plan, developed by a team from the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design, and Construction, include the creation of better connections to surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, redeveloping underutilized parking lots into commercial and residential buildings, reconfiguring on-street parking to improve safety, adding greater accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians, and reinvesting in historic Father Marquette Park.

Father Marquette Park Renovation

The PlacePlan recognized the need for improvements to Father Marquette Park, which is located at the eastern end of the study area, and provides a transition between the more urban blocks of Baraga Avenue and the waterfront. The park’s iconic statue of Father Marquette was restored during the summer of 2014, as the PlacePlan was prepared and delivered. In the succeeding months, detailed designs for new landscaping and accessibility features for the park were developed under the guidance of the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee (MBRC) with the full endorsement of the Marquette City Commission.

In December 2015, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund announced recommendation of a $140,000 grant to fund accessibility improvements to the park, which will include an elevated viewing platform, handicapped-accessible pathways, stairways, and picnic areas. The community has stepped up to raise the required matching funds for this grant, including a pledge from the Marquette Downtown Development Authority and ongoing donations to the MBRC allowing that group to provide $60,000 in support. Final construction planning got underway in spring 2016, and the improvements will be completed over the summer.



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