MARQUETTE - Carl Lindquist, director of the Superior Watershed Partnership, looked out the window of his new office on the second floor of the old Presque Isle caretaker's home.
"I'm considering taking up surfing," Lindquist joked, looking out at the choppy Lake Superior waters where wetsuited surfers often ride the waves well into winter.
The SWP moved its offices to the Presque Isle house on Oct. 1. After some renovations, including painting, sanding floors and installing wiring and tile, the organization is set up and ready to promote its causes.
Carl Lindquist, director of the Superior Watershed Partnership, stands in front of the old Presque Isle caretaker’s home in Marquette, the new location for the SWP’s offices. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
Lindquist said the SWP's new location establishes it as the pre-eminent Upper Peninsula Great Lakes organization.
"Over the years we've worked with almost every city in the Upper Peninsula - whether it's our pollution prevention programs or education programs, energy conservation, working with K-12 schools," he said.
The city-owned caretaker home had not occupied since 1996. Over the winters the home was heated just enough so it wouldn't fall into disrepair.
But the annual cost to heat the vacant home was still a drain on the city's budget and the city commission had considered selling, leasing or demolishing the home.
But the SWP stepped in and offered to pay the cost of utilities if they could move their offices into the building.
"We just love the building," Lindquist said. "It's historic, built in the early 20th century. It's a beautiful building so I'm glad we could help save it."
He said the organization is currently building a wheelchair ramp to make the home comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The SWP is also working with the city of Marquette to secure a grant which would allow the organization to demonstrate wind and solar power generation at the home.
"If it were funded, it would not only reduce the energy use in this building but also benefit other buildings in the park, so its just an exciting opportunity to do a lot of things," Lindquist said.
Natasha Koss, development coordinator for the SWP, said the building's highly visible and easily accessible location makes it ideal for attracting new members.
"I'm hoping that people do take the time to come in and get information on what we're doing and we have all kinds of opportunities for volunteering or internships," she said.
She said the SWP has about 200 members from all over the country.
"We're supported through not only grants but also private donations from individuals and we encourage people to become members to not only have an impact on their water but also to help us achieve our mission, and that's having a better quality of life and making this place safe and healthy for all and for generations ahead," she said.
For more information visit the SWP Web site at www.superiorwatersheds.org.