City of Alpena chooses not to renew marina operator contract | News, Sports, Jobs


News photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena harbor master Shannon Smolinski did some cleaning at the small craft harbor fish cleaning station on Monday. The city voted not to renew the contract of the current operator of the Thunder Bay Shores Marine marina, and to manage the marina itself after August 31.

ALPENA – The Town of Alpena is ending its long-standing business relationship with Thunder Bay Shores Marine.

On Monday, Alpena City Council voted 4-0 not to renew the current one-year contract with Thunder Bay Shores Marine, which has managed the marina for 28 years.

The current agreement expires August 31, and the marina operator has until September 30 to vacate the premises.

In her report to the council, Harbor Master Shannon Smolinski said the port and marina have deteriorated over the years, and the city has approached Thunder Bay Shores Marine to help them complete a to-do list from ‘a corrective action plan, with help from the city for repairs and maintenance – some of which were safety issues.

A push for more marketing for the marina and to link the port to downtown Alpena is also a goal in which the city wants to play a role.

Only a portion of the projects have been completed, even with a full-time municipal employee stationed at the port to help with the necessary work.

Smolinski said Thunder Bay Shores Marine has been a good partner with the city for many years, but in his opinion it is time to part ways so that the marina’s full potential can be realized.

“After working with Thunder Bay Shores this season, it has become evident that we do not share a mutual vision of what the marina can become,” said Smolinski. “Although he has provided good customer service as the face of the marina for several years, the city’s desire to change direction and take it to the next level is not a priority or a shared goal.”

The city will have help managing operations as it intends to hire another marina employee to reflect the current schedule. Both employees would continue to cover bridge operations for Lady Michigan as part of their duties. It is also expected that the two employees would cover the full-time operations of the marina with the help of several seasonal dockers.

“Thunder Bay Shores Marine currently employs several dockers who are already trained in their duties and responsibilities. These young men and women impressed me this summer with their good work ethic and their desire to provide excellent customer service to our visiting boaters, ”said Smolinski. “It would be my intention to hire one of the existing employees who would be willing to remain a seaman at the marina and could go through our pre-employment screening process. This would provide us with experienced staff who could help us learn the ropes. I also explore external training resources to make sure we are doing our business properly. “

The city also intends to hire All Marine to operate the mobile winch that puts boats in and out of the water. The fees charged for increasing and decreasing will be split evenly between the city and All Marine.

A request for proposal will also be issued to hire someone to provide an on-site repair shop and manage the marina store.

Thunder Bay Shores Marine owner Richard McTaggart has not commented on the non-extension of the contract.

City Councilor Mike Nowak was absent from the meeting.

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