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      Marina looks to expand to keep up with growing demand

      T he City of Charlevoix is looking to expand its marina to help accommodate larger boats and yachts.

      T his project would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars , but leaders believe it could help provide a long term boost to the economy.

      " We have had a couple of really banner years the last couple of years and the only boats I have really had to turn away are the large ones," Hal Evans, Charlevoix Marina Harbormaster said.

      T he City believes that with each boat that the marina turns away, an opportunity is lost.

      " Every boater that comes , the averages is about $250 a night that they spend in your town ," Evans said.

      A nd they predict , the owners of the larger boats would spend more if they had easier access to town.

      S o to accom m odate the growing demand , the city is proposing an expa n sion of one of the docks here on Round Lake.

      T hey would add 150 feet to this dock and reconstruct the existing slips , which would more than double to amount of large boat slips available.

      " It's estimated that the additional revenue that would result from the slips would pay for the expansion within three to five years," Mike Spencer, Charlevoix City Planner said.

      T hey say the project would practically pay for itself. B ut at first the city would have to find a way to cover the initial costs which are an estimated $400,000.

      T hey are not sure if they will pre-lease the slips or search for grant money, but either way they want the public's opinion.

      " We're looking forward to all public comments for or against ," Spencer said. "O nce we know that and have firm numbers on cost then city council will be able to make a decision."

      T he public will have a chance to voice their opinions about this project Wednesday night at the planning commission meeting.