New marina in Marine City aims to boost tourism and downtown economy

Marine City's new marina is set to transform the waterfront community, helping to attract tourists and give a boost to the city’s economy.

Located along the Belle River, the marina is only two blocks west of the downtown area and is part of a multi-phase effort to revitalize downtown Marine City. The development was designed to attract tourists and visiting boaters with the creation of a public marina offering temporary docking as well as create another connection along the Bridge to Bay Trail.

The marina site on the Belle River in Marine City is highlighted in red.

Scott Adkins, City Manager for Marine City.Scott Adkins, City Manager for Marine City, says the project was made possible when a family sold a portion of their land to the city that had pre-existing dockage.

Before the marina, people were just passing through, he says. Now, people can come in and enjoy the city.

“Anytime you can allow an opportunity for people to come and visit a community and be able to spend some time here, they are then contributing to the local economy,” Adkins says. “They’re supporting the restaurants, they’re supporting the shops.”

One of the downtown businesses, TwoRivers Winery, is excited about the foot traffic the marina brings downtown. Dave Swantek, husband of the winery’s owner Julie Swantek, says since the marina they’ve been seeing more people visit their business.  

“A lot of folks have asked us if they can get here by boat,” he says. “The marina now offers that opportunity, so we can say yes.”

Aerial view of the marina along the Belle River in Marine City, Michigan.

A newer addition located adjacent to the marina is an ADA kayak/canoe launch. Future plans for the marina include a park, restrooms, and parking spaces for cars.

“They will be able to dock, walk, or bike to downtown and our other commercial areas in the city,” Adkins says.

Completed in phases, the marina project is expected to be an investment totaling over $1 million and represents the collaborative effort between public, private, and philanthropic sectors to enhance the region's waterfront assets. Local and statewide partners such as the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County (EDA), the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Blue Meets Green, and many others have supported the project.

“We had a unique chance to help add a new marina, plus work on the gaps of the Bridge to Bay Trail project, and help create a landmark anchor on the north end of Marine City, these were three projects that we really wanted to be involved in,” says Hale Walker, chair of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.

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