Ashland, WI — In many ways, Ashland’s identity is most closely tied to its century old ore dock.
It was one of many that helped the city’s industrial economy thrive back in the day.
While it’s not being used that way any more, it’s being given new life.
Built in the early 1900’s, there’s a push to make this 2,000-foot piece of Ashland’s history a 2,000-foot pier.
“The city was really anxious not to see this part of our history just disappear completely,” said former Ashland Mayor Edward Monroe.
Edward Monroe has been a longtime leader in the city of Ashland.
He says iron ore, mined in the Upper Peninsula, started getting shipped out of the city in the late 1800’s.
There were five long ore docks back then helping feed Ashland’s economy.
This is the only one left.
So now, money is being fed back into it, transforming it from old industrial to modern attraction.
“Ore dock renovations have been going on for several years. It’s kind of gone through phases so far. The functional part is the first 900 feet,” said Monroe.
That 900 is a walking path, helping people get out on the water, fish or hang out and watch the sunset.
But the next part of renovation is the hard part with a million dollar price tag.
“The second 900 feet, which everyone is dying to get out on because it takes you halfway out into Chequamegon Bay, is a different construction type,” said Monroe.
That part of the dock has large holes in the cement that go all the way down to the bottom of the lake.
But Monroe says it’s going to get done.
“Still going to take a couple more years, but will be a really neat attraction here for the area,” said Monroe.
Monroe says the whole project will end up costing in the ballpark of seven or eight million dollars.
That money is coming from Canadian National Railway, which gave the city $3 million dollars, when it handed the dock over to the city.
There’s also grant money and some other funding mechanisms.