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July August 2019 Marina World

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MARINA REFURBISHMENT East Tawas State Harbor nears completion of a three-phase renovation project that has involved a total reorganisation of the berthing configuration. Strategies for phased improvements in Michigan harbours by Greg Weykamp One of the biggest challenges in renovating a marina is determining the point at which it makes more sense to complete a major infrastructure replacement project instead of continuing an ongoing series of smaller improvement projects. While the cost of a major replacement project can be a challenge, the opportunity to reshape your marina to respond to a continuously evolving boating market may be the single most important financial consideration over the long term. Similarly, perhaps the biggest risk of simply updating older dock infrastructure in small incremental projects is remaining trapped into a fading market by an obsolete berthing configuration. The State of Michigan in the USA is completing a comprehensive assessment of all 82 of its stateowned and grant-supported harbour facilities, with the goal of documenting the existing condition of each facility, determining the improvements needed at each facility in the immediate (five-year) time frame and longterm (20-year) time frame, outlining cost estimates for capital budget planning, and establishing a set of ranking criteria and priorities to guide phased improvements across the entire system. The ranking criteria for establishing priorities includes a wide range of considerations, beginning with immediate liability concerns such as Electrical Shock Drowning (ESD)/ Electrical Code requirements or compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. After basic safety compliance issues are addressed, the most important factors in determining improvement priorities include facility occupancy and how closely the current berthing configuration responds to the current and anticipated boating market, and the age and condition of the existing infrastructure. Once a facility is selected for improvement, more detailed studies are completed to determine the most beneficial approach to refurbishment. These studies include comprehensive condition assessment of the harbour infrastructure, including all docks, utilities, breakwaters and landside amenities, as well as completion of a detailed marina market analysis and boater survey to refine the project programme and scope of work. Close coordination with the local community improves the relationship and connections between the marina and downtown businesses, building broad support for the project and Greg Weykamp easing the entitlement process. East Tawas State Harbor is in the final stages of a three-phase renovation project that completely reorganised the berthing configuration to respond to the need for replacement of functionally obsolete fixed and floating docks, while providing more and larger transient and seasonal berths, improved boater access to existing landside amenities, and a comprehensive update to the harbour fuel and utility systems, with an emphasis on improving ESD safety. Located on the western shores of Lake Huron, the original layout of the facility was organised around a timber crib structure that protected an historic timber mill site. Fixed finger piers were added to the original structure, as well as a second larger structure constructed later by the US Army Corps of Engineers that created a second interior harbour, with floating docks providing additional berthing. While reusing the existing structure was cost effective, the overall layout and berthing configuration was very inefficient from an operational perspective, and there was no way to resolve these operational concerns while expanding the facility to meet the growing market demand. The solution was to eliminate a portion of the original structure to create a single, larger harbour. This allowed for a more efficient reconfiguration of berths that improved security, operational efficiency, and boater access to the landside amenities. With completely new docks and utilities and a renovated boater services building, the facility now sets the standard for the State of Michigan harbour system. Gregory J Weykamp, ASLA, LEED AP is the president of Michigan-based Edgewater Resources, LLC. 32 - July/August 2019

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