City to end agreement & take over operations of downtown marina

The City of Alpena has decided to end a long-standing management agreement for the downtown marina, and instead take over day-to-day operations of the facility.

Along the way, the city plans to revitalize and reenergize the marina, by becoming more involved and improve operations and some of the aging and in some cases failing infrastructure.

It was noted by Harbormaster Shannon Smolinski during a municipal council meeting Monday evening, that after working with the current managers this season, “…it has become apparent that we do not share a mutual vision for what the marina can become.”

The marina made money for the city over a decade ago, but since that time has been in the red, primarily due to a decrease in boaters, the economy and a lackluster fishery, all of which are improving. City manager Rachel Smolinski says the marina “is not about making money,” but is an important asset to the city. She hopes that with future improvements, the marina will become self-sustaining in as few as five years.

The current plan is for the city to staff the marina and solicit bids for an onsite marine store and repair shop. The city also plans to hire an outside company to lift boats in and out of the water.

The current management contract with Thunder Bay Shores Marine ends August 31.