The Ore Dock BotEco Center

Our goal is to create a special place on Marquette's waterfront that achieves a sustainable balance of educational, recreational and commercial uses.

1) Ecological Education and Research Facilities
2) Year-round Indoor Botanical Gardens
3) Historical Preservation and Education
4) Community Spaces

Moving Forward

Posted by on October 12, 2017

The Ore Dock BotEco Center is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Our Board President, VP and Secretary have been meeting with the City of Marquette, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and representatives from the Governor’s office, Attorney General’s office, and Senator Tom Casperson’s office about revisions to the Bottomlands Agreement. Since the City owns the dock and the DEQ is responsible for the lake bed on which the dock sits, this Bottomlands Agreement is a contract between the City and the DEQ. It states each party’s responsibilities, including what may and may not be done with the dock. To our surprise, the DEQ responded very quickly in writing with the revisions they have approved. Some fine-tuning still needs to be done, and we will let the public know when we receive word from the City and the DEQ that the revised document is complete.

The Marquette City Commission held a work session on October 10th, 2017 to learn about the BotEco Center’s progress history and to comment on recent Bottomlands Agreement developments as outlined by City staff. The meeting was a success and we are thankful for the encouraging support of the Commissioners, Mayor and City Manager.

During the work session, the Friends of the BotEco Center addressed some key points with the project, including the following:

  • The City will continue to own the dock
  • Funding for the project will not come from any City funds or city taxpayer dollars
  • No private commercial use will be allowed on the dock, but some events will include fees, similar to city park facility fees

“We hope good things come of this. I think it would benefit everybody.” – Mayor Dave Campana

The next step is to apply for engineering design grants.

Stay tuned for updates and progress. See the links below for news articles about the work session.

UP Matters – Update on Ore Dock BotEco Center project – 10/10/17

The Mining Journal – BotEco Project Forges Ahead at Lower Harbor Ore Dock – 10/11/17

TV 6 Upper Michigan’s Source – Marquette’s Lower Harbor Ore Dock closer to revitalization – 10/10/17


A Friend of the BotEco Center

Posted by 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.

Alex Mariano NMU EEGS Senior Capstone Project

Posted by on May 15, 2017

A big thank you to Alex Mariano, an NMU student who did his undergraduate presentation on bird-friendly glass options for the BotEco Center!
He did a lot of research on the different solutions to avoid bird collisions on the enclosed design. He presented to our board at our monthly meeting last night and we were all very impressed.
We will strive to be “bird-friendly” by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and will consider your recommendations in the future design process.

Check out his Powerpoint presentation below!



Open call for entries

Posted by on March 3, 2017

Call for Entries: Ore Dock BotEco Center Adult Coloring Book Pages

The Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center invites Michigan Upper Peninsula artists to submit images suitable for an Adult Coloring Book. Submissions shall encompass one or more of the following:

1) Ore Dock BotEco Center as depicted by renderings found at

2) The current Marquette Lower Harbor Ore Dock and its surroundings (e.g. seagulls, waves, boats, sunrise).

3) Views inside the Ore Dock (e.g. plants, concerts, art displays) that reflects people’s interaction with the future ODBEC.

Each artist may submit one or multiple pages.  Groups, such as a high school art class, may submit a collaborated entry(ies). Up to 24 total entries may be selected for the book.
2-D art accepted: drawing, digital art, and printmaking suitable for digital printing (8½” x11”  horizontal or vertical layout) and for coloring with colored pencils or felt tip markers.  See example at

Full details here:
Juror: The Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center Board

Each selected artist will donate selected submission(s), and upon signing a release form, shall have her/his name listed on the coloring book cover, on, and in press releases and other publicity.  Selected artists shall each receive a free coloring book. All other coloring books shall be sold for donations to the Friends of Ore Dock BotEco Center.

Submissions can be submitted by mail or email.

The Friends of the ODBEC is a nonprofit organization that is developing the vision of transforming the ore dock in Marquette, Michigan’s Lower Harbor into a community center and is leading the implementation of that vision.

Friends of Ore Dock BotEco Center (Friends of ODBEC)

Entry Deadline: March 24th, 2017

PO Box 174

Marquette, MI 49855

Phone (906) 361-6053

Delta Sky Magazine

Posted by on November 28, 2016

Marquette was just featured in the December issue of Delta Sky Magazine!
And BotEco also made an appearance in there!
Check out the whole article HERE.

Amazon Smile

Posted by on

The Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center is now listed on Amazon Smile!

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Select Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center and Amazon will give us 0.5% of your purchase! It’s just that easy!

City of Marquette Letter of Approval

Posted by on October 25, 2016


In response to our presentation in August to the City of Marquette Commissioners, we received a letter of support/approval from the City. This is huge!

What exactly does this mean? It means we can start going forward with our project. The Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center can now look into amending the Bottomlands Agreement and also start our fundraising.

A big thank you to the City Commissioners!

August 29th, 2016 City Commission Meeting

Posted by on August 30, 2016

Last night, Gisele Duerhing, President of the Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center, presented to the Marquette City Commission. Several commissioners were very excited by the BotEco Center’s plan and showed their support. This was a thrilling experience for those who support this vision.

You can view the video of the meeting here:

One commissioner suggested that the next step will be a public forum.

We will update the website when that forum becomes available.

City Commission Presentation

Posted by on August 25, 2016

Wondering what is happening with the dock and the Friends of the Ore Dock BotEco Center? Come to the City of Marquette Commission meeting Monday, August 29th at 7pm.
We will be doing a short presentation and we hope to eventually get a blessing from the City to continue our project and raise funds.
If you can’t make the meeting, you can view the meeting on Youtube or go to the City’s website to see the minutes.


SmartPrize Exhibit

Posted by on April 5, 2016

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Our exhibit at the Landmark Inn in downtown Marquette is complete for SmartPrize. There are 22 entrants in the SmartPrize competition this year and over $20k is being given away! There are maps of the SmartPrize walk at each venue. Be sure to check them all out, there are a lot of great ideas!

You can vote for the BotEco Center on until Sunday. You can vote once daily per electronic device. Please vote for us so we can win Crowd Favorite! And please share so we can get more votes!

Our “Living Dock” turned out to be better than we could have expected! Local artist, Nic Dobbs, did a great job.