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      Grand Marais constructing the break it needs

      The community of Grand Marais never thought this day would come.

      It's just short of a year when the seven million dollars set aside to build the breakwater harbor was first announced. On Tuesday, engineers, contractors, the DEQ, and representatives from Lansing all came together to see the project on paper.

      "Everybody's just on pins and needles to get this project going because nobody is actually going to believe this is going to happen until we start putting rock in the water," said Burt Township Supervisor Jack Hubbard.

      Grand Marais' old breakwater eroded, and the harbor has filled up with sediment. It's been 50 years since residents and tourists in Grand Marais have seen a functioning breakwater harbor, and in just over a month crews will start construction to bridge the gap between the shores. Tuesday's meeting covered pre-construction points, from rules and regulations to protecting the nests of endangered birds.

      "What we need to do while the breakwall is being constructed is to monitor the beach within a quarter of a mile either side of the end of the breakwall to make sure that if there are plovers there, they're not being disturbed by the construction activity," said Lead Plover Monitor Cathy Egerer.

      A winner of the Reader's Digest 'We Hear You, America' contest and the topic of many town conversations in the last five years, the harbor can finally rise above water. Some say a booming economy will rise with it.

      "Your harbor is a front door to your community," Hubbard said. "This is going to be huge for transit boaters, for everybody that uses the harbor, or rather if you just want sit on the bank and watch the sun come up."

      Construction is slated to start in late May.