MARQUETTE — Over the weekend, Marquette residents noticed that something was missing from the statue of Phil Niemisto in the pocket park off of Washington Street. Phil’s hat and the scarf someone knit for the statue are missing.
Mona Lang, executive director of the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, said that the Marquette Police Department is currently investigating the incident. The police also may have access to surveillance video from the area.
Lang said this is more than just a hat that went missing, it’s vandalism of the statue.
“I think that it’s a terrible thing. I mean, that goes right to the heart of our community. That statue was meant to honor a valuable citizen who has really dedicated his life to our downtown and our city,” said Lang. “I just don’t think there’s an excuse for such behavior.”
According to Lang, Niemisto himself saw the missing hat and is “very upset over it.” She also said that the DDA is dedicated to catching the perpetrators.
Community members have put temporary replacement hats on the statue, but a more permanent replacement is in the works. Residents and local businesses are also working to put together a fund to reward anyone who comes forward with information about the incident.
For the time being, contact the Marquette Police Department with any information regarding the incident at (906)228-0400.