A Friend of the BotEco Center
Posted by Aurora Dobbs on July 28, 2017
Three years ago, when we reached out to Representative John Kivela to discuss our ideas regarding the transformation of the ore dock in Marquette’s lower harbor, his enthusiasm for the project was obvious. John had long championed finding some use for the iconic structure, beginning with his stint as mayor of Marquette. He even had a wooden replica of the ore dock in his Lansing office!
When he became aware of the BotEco initiative, he became eager to help us and asked that we keep him updated on our progress. He always stressed the need to secure local enthusiasm and endorsement for the project, especially from the city commissioners. More importantly, Representative Kivela was instrumental in teaching our board about the intricacies of dealing with the current bottomlands agreement. Because of his guidance, we knew from the start that we would either have to receive a favorable interpretation of its requirements from the Department of Environmental Quality or, with his assistance, get the Michigan State Legislature to amend the document. With the blessing of the city to proceed in hand, John was quietly working behind the scenes with the DEQ and his congressional colleagues when his productive and loving life came to a shocking end.
Along with others, members of our board wept, more so for the loss of a truly great man and friend of our congressional district than for any pivotal role he was playing in moving the BotEco initiative ahead. If only judging by the number of campaign signs that still dot the landscape as a testament to the “SISU” of the man, John will always be with us in our hearts and aspirations to bring people together for the common good.
It may be that, in fact, recent developments owe their genesis to the good works of John Kivela. This week, the Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center met with the City of Marquette and the DEQ together to determine how to deal with the Bottomlands issue. Update to follow…
Thank you, John.
The Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center.