Summertime in the Upper Peninsula provides abundant opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors while participating in various recreational activities.
These activities run the gamut from swimming and hiking to tennis and soccer, and everything in between.
One of the main summer activities for many younger people in the area is skateboarding, and this segment of the population will soon have a new, state-of-the-art facility to practice all their "ollies," "kickflips" and "hippie jumps."
The venue for such trickery on a skateboard will be the Marquette Skate Plaza on the northeast corner of the Pine Street-Fair Avenue intersection, near the parking lot for the YMCA and Lakeview Arena. Construction on the facility began this week and should be completed by September, according to Marquette Skate Plaza Committee member Nheena Weyer Ittner.
The skate plaza, or skatepark as they are also referred to, will include several features that are intended to mimic such things as stairways, benches, railings and ramps - which serious boarders search out around town to practice their tricks on.
Having these features in one location should make for interesting boarding, viewing of skateboarders and be safer than when boarders cruise the streets.
The work begun this week is the culmination of about seven years of work by the local committee and others, an effort that included raising $150,000 to qualify for $75,000 that the city pledged to the project.
Ittner said the project should cost about $233,000, and the committee managed to raise enough money to set up a contingency fund. In addition, once the park is completed the city will take ownership and maintain it.
While bulldozers and front-end loaders are busy this week creating the foundation for the skatepark, California-based Spohn Ranch - a company specializing in designing and building skateparks - will spend a few weeks in August creating the finished product.
This project is a fine example of how the Marquette area community has once again come together and taken a good idea and carried it through to provide quality recreational opportunities for residents and visitors to the area.