A Dubuque Tourism-Booster Closer to Completion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

A Dubuque Tourism-Booster Closer to Completion

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The city is now one step closer to building a new riverfront marina.

"Following Tuesday night's directive by the City Council, it is truly green light, full steam ahead," assistant city engineer Bob Schiesl said.

Once it's built, the planned Riverfront Marina in Dubuque's Ice Harbor will be the only full-service transient marina in the area, "which will include restrooms, shower facilities, laundry," Schiesl said.

That has attracted the enthusiasm of city, state and national groups.

"That was one of the reasons why the city of Dubuque was able to successfully land an unprecedented three-million dollar federal grant," Schiesl said. "Fish and Wildlife Service, the DNR, those federal regulatory agencies realized the need for a full-service transient facility in this area."

The city chipped in about $1 million, bringing the total budget to approximately $4 million.

"It'll provide another tourist destination and really be able to allow us to tap all the recreational boaters and tourists that travel the Mississippi," Schiesl said.

According to Schiesl, the plan is to have the marina completed by summer of 2011.

Since this is a transient marina, boaters will be able to reserve a space for a maximum of 10 days, Schiesl said.

The next steps in the process include finalizing the design, putting out construction bids and launching a marketing campaign to attract boaters.

But the go-ahead given at Tuesday night's City Council meeting was only one step in a long process. Original plans would have had the marina built on the main channel of the Mississippi River. (To see maps and documents from the public hearing, click HERE or see link on the left.)

"The main channel concept was not going to be feasible, just due to the river dynamics and the conditions that exist on the Mississippi River," Schiesl said.

In response, in November the city officially moved the planned location to the Ice Harbor.

In February the city held a meeting to inform the public of the plans at that point.

In May, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa DNR gave the plans the environmental go-ahead.

So far, "it's been about a two-year process," Schiesl said.

He said he looks forward to getting the end-product up and running now that the City Council has held a public hearing and voted to allow the project to proceed.

"It's very satisfying to know that we have a, you know, the green light for a very viable project that will be, really, a tremendous entity and asset to all the other amenities in the Port of Dubuque," Schiesl said.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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