Visitors may soon come to downtown New Baltimore by land and lake.
Plans--approved by the Port Authority of Detroit and subject to FEMA authorization--are underway to create a public dock along the shore of Walter and Mary Burke Park. That would replace a previous dock that was removed years ago, due to safety concerns.
"We want to put the harbor back where it was," Councilman Ken Butler said. "This would allow boat slips for people to come in to New Baltimore for a few hours."
While they're there, the visitors could frequent the beach or local businesses in the historic downtown, Butler said, adding he hopes for it to be finished in summer.
He credits MacDonald Public Library for finding pictures of the city's harbor from the 1940s, helping prove the dock's historical relevance during the grant-seeking process.
"New Baltimore started by being a port," he said.
City Police Chief Tim Wiley and Planning and Economic Development Director Judy Sproat have been working on getting an approximate $300,000 Port Authority grant for about 16 boat slips and a 24-foot police patrol boat, Wiley said.
The money would also cover water-related emergency training and boat maintenance, if approved, Wiley said.
"Everything is contingent on FEMA approving the grant," he said.
The city will likely find out in mid-April if it will receive the money. New Baltimore is to match the grant with $20,000 from the Walter and Mary Burke estate donation to city recreation, he said.
The police force's reserve unit and volunteers would staff the patrol boat by responding to emergencies and helping other local departments, such as the Macomb County Sheriff Office's Marine Division, Wiley said.
“Our goal is to operate completely on federal dollars," he said. “We would generally provide emergency response services and we would tried to put together some regular patrols as well."