November 26, 2014

AuGres to ask senators to support Harbor Maintenance Act

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AuGRES — The AuGres City Council will be sending letters to Michigan U.S. senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow requesting their continued support for a Senate bill entitled the Harbor Maintenance Act of 2010.

City Manager Patricia Killingbeck said the letter will ask the senators to adopt legislation ensuring that money collected by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will be used for its intended purposes of maintaining Michigan’s harbors and ports. She added that it was Levin, who wrote and introduced the Harbor Maintenance Act of 2010.

“This is part of a statewide effort to receive (federal) money that is set aside for port communities,” she said. “Sometimes that money is not used and used for other things.”

Killingbeck said that AuGres is part of the Michigan Port Collaborative, which is organizing the effort.

The MPC is currently comprised of 19 port communities, like AuGres, from across the state.

Killingbeck said the goal of the MPC is to show the importance of port communities as the “front door” to Michigan.

“We want to bring in public awareness of our rich maritime culture and history,” she said. “Access to the waterfront is important to our community.”

Killingbeck said that with the Point Lookout Harbor of Refuge in AuGres, it is important to be prepared for any situation where money may be needed.

“We want to make sure money is available to receive funding,” she said.

One example Killingbeck gave was in the case of the dredging that that has recently been completed at the AuGres State Docks and the Point Lookout Harbor of Refuge.

“We have been a part of the Small Harbors Collaborative for the past four years. That probably resulted in 75 percent of the reason we were able to have our harbor dredged,” she said.

In October, the AuGres City Council unanimously decided to pay $20,000 from the city’s Capital Projects Fund for the dredging of the AuGres State Docks, coinciding with a federal dredging project at the Point Lookout Harbor of Refuge.

Killingbeck said that if the city does not take the time to show the importance of being a city with a harbor, the harbor may not exist. That is why AuGres is a part of the MPC.

“For years this (harbor) was taken for granted,” she said. “It’s a great thing to be alongside the Great Lakes. We need to show people how important that is.”

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