The official groundbreaking for a new boutique hotel in Marine City brought many community leaders to the future site of The Inn on Water Street.
Mayor Ray Skotarczyk called it one of the "largest private investment Marine City has seen in decades" in a speech at the corner of Water and Bridge streets in the downtown district. Owners Tom and Kathy Vertin then took their shovels in hand to symbolize the start of the new construction.
Skotarczyk also spoke of Marine City's overall growth as part of a county and statewide effort to "reinvent their economies."
The mayor and a list of guest speakers all stressed how state, federal and local leaders worked together to make the project happen.
A former auto dealership, Terhune Sales and Service
, was demolished and an environmental cleanup completed before construction on the new project began. Federal, state and local incentive programs helped with these additional costs.
Downtown Marine City has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, but Skotarczyk also addressed the "other side to our city's story."
"We are a blue-collar community and many of our hard working residents were among the hardest hit during the recession," he says. He acknowledges it could be hard to celebrate new construction in the city while people are struggling to pay the bills.
He asks everyone to be patient.
"Our downtown is the economic engine that will pull the entire city to a better day," he says.
The $4 million investment is expected to eventually bring in millions in tax revenues to the city, even with a 12-year tax abatement. Condos on the upper floor will immediately begin generating tens of thousands of dollars in taxes to help build up city coffers. The new business will create 15 new full-time equivalent jobs.
The Vertins came to Marine City three years ago to build a small, 98-seat theater in town called The Snug Theatre
. A year and a half later, the Harsens Island couple was renovating the old Marine Savings Bank a couple blocks away for a second theater, The Riverbank
, which opened in December 2014.