City of Marquette Wins the Region 7 Competition:

“MML Community Excellence Awards Race for the Cup”

June 2009


The City of Marquette recently won the regional Municipal League’s Community Excellence Awards Race for the Cup.  The League instituted the awards program in 2008 to recognize municipalities that develop innovative projects or programs that have a positive impact in their communities.  The City of Marquette won the Region 7 competition; Region 7 is comprised of the entire Upper Peninsula.

The City’s entry included a presentation on Marquette’s “reinvention” of the downtown waterfront district.  “In Marquette’s early days, the waterfront was based on an industrial economy, with shipping comprising a major portion of the area.  The community turned its back on the lake,” said Assistant City Manager Karl Zueger, who made the presentation at an MML seminar in Calumet on June 5th.  He noted that over the past ten years or so, the City made a concerted effort to reinvent itself by purchasing land along Lake Superior, redeveloping brownfields, and adding public green space to once inaccessible land.  “Through citizen participation and community visioning sessions, the City has really recaptured part of our heritage while also adding to the quality of life for our residents,” he said.

Zueger added, “The community has now created a unique sense of place, the kind that draws and retains young talent, while also attracting new service-based businesses at the same time.”  The waterfront development has Marquette now realizing the vision it created long ago of being the premiere livable, walkable winter City in North America, Zueger said.

Representatives from MML agree.  "Marquette's leaders are clearly looking to the future with their vision for the community. Their efforts should position them well in the global competition to attract 21st Century jobs and investment," said Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League.  The City of Marquette’s entry will move forward to the statewide competition at the League’s annual convention in Kalamazoo September 22-25, 2009.  Marquette will be competing against Cadillac, Lexington, Mt. Pleasant, Allegan, Lathrup Village and Wyoming in the final round.