Marquette Plan and Portage Lakefront Park

SmithGroup's Marquette Plan is a comprehensive, community-based strategy to reimagine and reinvest in Indiana's entire Lake Michigan shoreline.



Marquette Plan and Portage Lakefront Park


Portage, IN


Parks & Open Spaces, Waterfront, Civil Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Coastal Engineering, Government


46 miles of shoreline; 60 acres


Environmental Achievement Award, U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. National Park Service;
Honor Award -- Landscape Architectural Design, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Illinois Chapter;


Smart Growth Coastal City Award, Porter County, Indiana - Great Lakes Commission/Nat'l Oceanic Atmospheric Assoc.;
Honor Award for Waterfront Plan, The Waterfront Center

The commitment of multiple cities and funding entities is a testament to the high-quality work of the Marquette Plan.

U.S. Representative Peter Visclosky

The project's span of nearly 50 miles encompasses three counties, two Congressional districts and 18 communities. The plan's bold recommendations reclaim 75 percent of the shoreline for public access while fostering new partnerships and economic development.

The first catalytic demonstration project for the Marquette Plan was Portage Lakefront Park and Riverwalk. Built through an innovative partnership between the City and the National Park Service, the design transformed a 60-acre brownfield site within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore into a model of environmental stewardship. The award-winning park also provided Portage with its first public lakefront beach. The project's success helped set the tone for Northwest Indiana's effort to redefine its working waterfront as one that works for all—with an effective balance between job growth, recreation and a healthy environment.