Marquette vies for All-America City Award

The City of Marquette announced Wednesday that Presque Isle Park was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor, after consistently earning outstanding feedback from visitors on the website.

But the accolades don’t stop there.  The city hopes to add another award to its resume.

Marquette has been a home away from home for Michiganders for generations.  Now, Lake Superior’s hidden gem may be moving into the national spotlight.

The city is just one of 25 across the country to be chosen as a finalist for the All-America City award, and sole representative from Michigan to be picked.

The hard part isn’t over yet.

Each city will head to Denver this weekend to give a presentation and answer questions about what makes their community worthy of the award.  The focus for this years competition is healthy communities.

“With all of the activities we have, for example the Marquette Food Co-op, the Upper Peninsula Food Bank in the City of Marquette as well as the activities at the YMCA, all of the good work that the DDA is doing, the Peter White Public Library too, in terms of an access point for the community, all of it just dovetails together, and when we add in the magnificent trail networks and the absolute stellar outdoor recreation opportunities of the city, this is, for the city at least, pretty much a no-brainer,” Marquette City Commissioner Fred Stonehouse said.

Several local organizations are representing Marquette at the competition: the Peter White Public Library, the food co-op, the Downtown Development Authority, and the YMCA.  Each one has contributed to Marquette’s status as a healthy community through various projects, like the YMCA’s Live Wise, which helps people with early-stage Alzheimer’s stay active.

Programs like these embody the spirit of Marquette.  And while that can be described on paper, hearing first hand accounts will allow the committee to soak in everything Marquette has to offer.

“I think it brings an awareness of healthier living in our community and what everyone does to contribute to that. You know, the biking groups, the food gardens that are happening, you know lots of activities for kids and there’s just a lot of things happening and it brings that awareness and heightens it and gets more people engaged,” YMCA executive director Lisa Coombs-Gerou said.

Although the All American City Award will bring a lot of local recognition for the city, it will also help in other ways; attracting new faces from states far and wide.

“This is a mechanism that helps us attract the millennials, it helps us attract the young professionals with a healthy lifestyle that can live anywhere in this country and would choose to locate in Marquette,” Stonehouse said.

Regardless of whether or not the city is formally recognized as America’s best, there are plenty of people who already think Marquette is pretty great.

“My husband is here working on the mines and stuff so we’re up here for two and half years, we’ll leave in September and I want to come back here and live. The lake is gorgeous, the trees, the animals, everything, its just great. The food’s good too, as you can tell,” Marquette resident Kathy Kelley said.