Sault Ste. Marie Applying for $20 Million Federal Grant to Fix, Re-Open Alford Park Waterfront

The city of Sault Ste. Marie looking to re-open the waterfront section of the once-popular Alford Park.

The city closed off the section in October of 2016, and are hoping that if approved, a federal grant will allow them to get it back open.

With concrete caving in, the dock and waterfront area were deemed unsafe and a fence was put up, blocking off a very popular fishing and freighter viewing spot.

“When they had to close it, it was really, really tough on the community,” Sault CVB Director Linda Hoath, said.

Hoath says it feels like a piece of the Sault has been missing.

“It’s been very sad for the Sault cause this has been place that people come to just sit and watch the freighters, eat their lunches, eat their dinners, kids are down here fishing,” Hoath, explained.

The city has not had the around $17 million it would cost to fix the dock, but now they are working to secure a BUILD grant, part of $1.5 billion in federal money available for infrastructure upgrades.

“The goal is to keep part of it waterfront public access,” City Engineer Linda Basista, said.

Basista says the city is applying for about $20 million to fix the dock and the nearby road.

But the project is not just for recreation, Basista hopes the feds see how this project could help facilitate another potentially major project in the Sault.

“For freighters tying up, and especially in anticipation for the lock project, we expect that would be a useful area for construction staging,” she, explained.

“We hope that this is right in line with that, so if we can convince Washington that this is a needed project, it would be great to have,” Basista, added.

And the community agrees.

“Sightseeing, watching the ships. It would be great for the public to be able to get down there again,” Sault Resident Jerome Mayer, said.

BUILD grant recipients will likely be notified in December.