Niemisto statue deserves more respect than vandals show

For the second time since its public unveiling in October, the statue of the late Phil Niemisto has been vandalized.

The statue of Niemisto, who died in February, is located in the pocket park along West Washington Street in Marquette that bears his name.

That statue, according to the Marquette Police Department, was vandalized sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning. The police discovered the damage at 7:35 a.m. Sunday.

Niemisto was well regarded in the community for his diligent washing of windows in the downtown areas. He also tended the pocket park that now, unfortunately, has yellow crime scene tape around the statue, which remains largely intact.

Marquette police Detective Greg Kinonen said the hat, as well as other parts of the statue, were damaged.

“We’re still investigating it at this point,” said Kinonen, who noted police were pulling video from the downtown camera.

This particular issue has raised a lot of outrage among the public. Some users on Facebook had comments like: “If they catch the culprit(s), they should be made to wash all the windows in Downtown Marquette;” “That is sad. He was the nicest guy you could have ever met. He worked all day everyday hard. I wish the mqt community would have a little more respect for their nicest citizen;” and “Wouldn’t it be great if the punishment honored Phil? Community service hours tending the downtown flower plots and a $$ fine to benefit the flower fund.”

We would have to agree with these notions. If this vandalism was indeed done intentionally, we believe the culprit or culprits could learn a valuable lesson from the legacy Phil left behind. This was a man who went dedicated his life to making this city a more beautiful place to live, and also spent money out of his own pocket to do so. Perhaps a little public service would offer a different perspective to these vandals.