Father Marquette statue close to getting park area upgrade

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee has reason to partially celebrate. With the help of the city, the state of Michigan and the DNR, they have been approved for phase one of the DNR Trust grant application process.

Cast bronze, weighing 1 1/2 tons, the Father Marquette Statue is getting some much needed attention. With repairs to the statue complete after vandalism, the Marquette Beautification Committee wants to make the area surrounding the statue more inviting.

“Make it handicap accessible, make it accessible for our seniors, they can come into this area, view the Father Marquette Statue and have the experience of what this statue means to the city of Marquette,” said Jerry Irby, Chairman, Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee.

Father Jacques Marquette, the city and county’s namesake, was a Jesuit missionary and explorer. The statue was a gift to the city from Peter White back in 1897. Committee members say as the statue stands near the gateway  into the city, it should be more visually appealing.

“You can’t ask for a better namesake, we are committed to this project. This is what we are about, flowers, shrubbery, many things that will highlight what this park means and make it beautiful,” continued Irby.

The committee will have a final answer on the grant  in December. If all goes well, they hope to start work on the beautification of the Father Marquette Statue park area, next year.