City unveils conceptual plan to restore Kestner seawall

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Upgrades at the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park seawall are seen in progress.

HOUGHTON — City Manager Eric Waara gave City Council members a concept plan for work near the Kestner Waterfront Park seawall at Wednesday’s meeting.

Waara said the west portion of the sidewalk would be moved off the seawall, creating a 15-foot-wide lawn space.

“If we ever get another problem there, we’ll be able to see it happen before the sidewalk fails,” he said.

Moving the sidewalk north will also put it out of the way of the culvert outfall structure, which will be maintained. A footbridge is being proposed to cross Huron Creek near the mouth.

“Luckily it is flowing in the spring, so water is getting out,” he said.

Waara said work on the mouth of the creek will be done at some point in the future when funds are available. At a budget meeting in March, he estimated the eventual cost of that section at $200,000 to $300,000.

The footbridge will consist of 18-by-54 beams on a concrete abutment, with a bridge similar in looks to the one on the Pilgrim River.

“We want to stay above the ordinary highwater mark of the creek,” he said. “We don’t want to get into a DEQ issue.”

Once the mouth of the seawall is restored, Waara said, the city can pull the bridge out and use it at the Nara Nature Park or somewhere else.

The fence will be replaced along the seawall with a sturdier one, he said.

Backfilling work that has been going on behind the seawall is mostly complete.

About $20,000 of work is being done this spring as a budgeted item for emergency repairs. Waara said the additional work could run $80,000 to $100,000.

Waara said he would come to the council for approval of the work when plans are complete. The costs would be paid out of the city’s general fund surplus.

“This is probably the most important part of the city for us,” he said.

Waara said topsoil work will start this work. He said concrete pouring and grass growing would hopefully begin before the end of May.