Superior was among eight Wisconsin communities to receive funding through the 2021 Harbor Assistance Program, the governor announced just before Christmas.
The city of Superior will receive $1.5 million on behalf of C. Reiss Coal Company to construct a dock wall and dredge the St. Louis Bay to develop a new harbor facility.
“Wisconsin is fortunate to have a robust system of ports and harbors with our Great Lakes and the Mississippi River that border our state,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a news release. “We are committed to investing in strengthening our shipbuilding industry to support one of the most efficient transportation resources for our farmers and manufacturers, bolster economic development, and support good, family-supporting jobs.”
The grant Superior received is about one-quarter of the $6 million in funding the city was seeking, but it was the largest grant for a single project.
“It’s good to be getting any money from the state right now,” Mayor Jim Paine said.
The dock, formerly owned and operated by Berwind Coal Company, is owned by C. Reiss Coal Company but has been dormant for at least 30 years on Superior’s waterfront.
Improvements planned for the site include rail construction with storage for 50 cars, stormwater treatment and storage, rail and truck scales, an office building and shop, and a ship loader.
The grant would help pay for about 2,035 feet of sheet pile to secure the dock walls and dredge the slip to a depth of 27 feet near the mouth of the St. Louis River, estimated at $13.4 million.
Currently located up the St. Louis River in Duluth, C. Reiss Coal Company found the Superior site more attractive because of high water levels, officials said. They said they believe the new location will give the company room to grow.
The company ships about 650,000 tons of materials from Duluth, one of four docks that handles about two million tons of bulk materials annually. The company was founded more that 140 years ago.
Nine grants, totaling nearly $5.1 million, were awarded to the towns of Bell and Cornucopia for a joint project, and the cities of Manitowoc, Sturgeon Bay, Prairie du Chien and Oconto, and ports of Milwaukee and Manitowoc, in addition to Superior.
“The ripple effect of the harbor grants is felt statewide,” said Craig Thompson, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “The department makes continued investments in our commercial waterfronts because investing in transportation pays off in our quality of life and in our state’s economic growth and well-being.”