Maiden Voyage will not load in Marquette in 2015

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Maiden Voyage tours will not pick passengers up in Marquette this year, as originally anticipated by captain Robert Vavra. He planned to pick people up there for his July Mississippi River Adventure Days and another special tour in the fall for a group staying at the Cobblestone Hotel, but notified the city he was contacted by Marquette citizens who were opposed to his usage of the fishing dock, so he will now load in McGregor only.

“It’s a disappointment,” said mayor Norma Mason, speaking at Marquette’s June 16 council meeting. “We thought it was going to be a go for the adventure tours. I wish people would have gotten their info first.”

City manager Dean Hilgerson said the dock usage would’ve been used for special groups only, not daily loading.

Upon learning the news, councilman Jason Winter said he would like the city to pursue getting more dockage in order to accommodate Vavra and others. Councilman Galen McShane agreed, noting how he’d recently seen the number of people piling off the Maiden Voyage into downtown McGregor, patronizing restaurants and other businesses.

“They’re going right to downtown McGregor,” Winter added. “Why not Marquette? We want to keep people here.”

Winter said he appreciates the fishing dock and making it fully accessible to those who want to use it, but felt the community was missing an opportunity and would like the city to approach Vavra again in the future.

Fourth of July

City clerk Sue Weipert said the city is looking for volunteers to help with the Fourth of July parade, which will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 4.

“When we had the community forum, citizens said they wanted to see the parade and activities expanded,” said Weipert, noting that interested people can contact city hall.


Hilgerson said the city is pursuing creating a crosswalk from the park to the Marquette Café. The DOT said it would be possible with a permit, he added. If a crosswalk is created, the city may also get a portable crosswalk sign that would sit in the middle of the intersection, like McGregor has, in order to help pedestrians cross during busy weekends and events.

Wetlands Centre

Councilwoman Rinda Ferguson, who is also a Driftless Area Wetlands Centre board member, gave an update on the Wetlands Centre in the absence of director Katrina Moyna, who is visiting Russia. Ferguson said the Wetlands Centre’s Friday Night Live farmers market has averaged 150 attendees since it started around one month ago. The use of solar power is also being investigated, she said, and the Wetlands Centre is looking into grant opportunities.

“We’d really love to get that going up there,” she said. “It’s the perfect spot. It would be educational and good for the environment.”

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