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Hurley Field to get improvements

Rotary Club donates money for new play equipment

The Rotary Club of Marquette donates a check to the city of Marquette for new play equipment at Hurley Field. Standing from left are Len DesJardins, who was instrumental in getting the project started; Sally Davis, past president of the Rotary Club; Michele Butler, current Rotary co-president; Mike Angeli, manager for the city of Marquette; and Jon Swenson, director of community services for the city of Marquette. Kneeling are Emma Trepanier, left, and Charlotte Pesola. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — What cheers up a youngster more than a new playground?

Hurley Field, located along Adams Street in south Marquette, will be the beneficiary of new play equipment courtesy of the Rotary Club of Marquette.

Sally Davis, Rotary Club past president, addressed members at the club’s Monday meeting at the Holiday Inn about the Hurley Field project.

The club, she said, started out with the plan to purchase a $4,000 swingset.

Then Michele Butler, current club co-president, got the idea to have an ice cream social fundraiser to raise money.

“As we canvassed the neighborhood with flyers for the ice cream social the next morning, everybody was saying they knew about it,” Davis said. “I couldn’t figure it out.”

It turned out a boy, Rocky Sholl, already had announced it to the neighborhood.

News travels fast when new play equipment is coming to town.

Almost $3,000 was raised in the event, said Davis, who noted other organizations gave money.

This meant more than a swingset could be purchased.

“We took that money and we doubled it by going through a grant through the Rotary Foundation,” Davis said.

So, on Monday, the Rotary Club presented a check for $15,800 to the city of Marquette. Because the city received over $6,000 from the Shiras Institute, the total amount raised for the project was $22,725.

Work parties probably will happen with the help of two girls, Emma Trepanier and Charlotte Pesola.

“There are also two little girls in the neighborhood that were so excited about this,” Davis said, “and they would stop to talk to me about, ‘When is it going to happen? What are we going to have?’ They told us what they wanted.”

Davis said they had an idea for a swingset, slide and something on which to climb — and they wanted to be part of the project.

“They’re excited about the park and they’re ready to play in it for next spring or summer,” she said.

The city of Marquette will be involved in the project, with the Marquette Board of Light and Power donating two poles so the city could install nets.

“These things don’t happen without the city actually taking on a lot of responsibility too,” Davis said, “and this was a playground that was almost decommissioned because the fly balls from the park were coming over and going to the playground.”

Jon Swenson, director of Marquette’s Community Services Department, agreed the city had considered getting rid of the Hurley Field playground.

“Throughout the south Marquette neighborhood, a lot of people sort of spoke up and really emphasized the need for this in the community,” Swenson said. “That process really kind of led us to a master plan that really helped with this project.”

He also credited the Rotary Club, particularly Davis, for their work regarding the playground.

“She really was out there, kind of the trenches, making this happen,” Swenson said.

He also gave credit to “the neighborhood kids.”

“Without them, I don’t think the energy would have been behind it that there was,” he said, a comment that resulted in a big round of applause for the youngsters.

Rocky said one of his schoolmates asked him why he was so dressed up on Monday. He responded that he was accepting a check for a playground.

“At first he thought it was the playground at our school,” Rocky said. “Then I told him that it was the Hurley Field playground, and I was about to say something about what was going to be added there, and he’s like, ‘Oh, that really needed it because it looked like it had just been nuked,'” Rocky said.

Charlotte said she and Emma often went to the park and wondered about its appearance.

“It’s kind of boring right now,” Charlotte said. “But now we’re going to make it really new, and me and Emma are really excited. We can’t wait until the spring.”

Emma believes people who use the new play equipment will have a good time.

“I know everybody’s going to enjoy it and love it,” Emma said.

Davis was pleased about how the project turned out.

“I just think it’s a great story for how a community can come together for a really cool little project,” Davis said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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