Chipping in for kids

Rotary clubs bring new swingset to Lions Field

Leif Jennings, 2, of Marquette, does his part in spreading wood chips June 28 so the new swingset at Kiddie Park could be installed. Local Rotary Clubs raised funds for the swingset. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Sally Davis, president of the Rotary Club of Marquette, was worried there wouldn’t be enough volunteers to spread the huge pile of wood chips at the Lions Field Recreation Area.

She needn’t have worried.

Members of that rotary club, as well as the Marquette West Rotary Club and the Marquette Breakfast Rotary Club, were at the Marquette Township park June 28 to prepare the area where a new four-person swingset was installed at Kiddie Park.

The new piece of play equipment was the result of township management, its recreation committee and the three rotary clubs collaborating.

“This is a beautiful park, and I’m so impressed with the volunteers,” Davis said.

For example, she said township volunteers assembled the swingset and poured the cement for the poles.

Roger Bentlage of the Marquette Breakfast Rotary Club was one of the volunteers who showed up at the June 28 work bee.

“All three clubs actually chipped in to make this happen, and now we’re here just to wrap it up,” Bentlage said.

In 2015, Kiddie Park, located between Cherry and Summit streets, gained a new play structure through township general fund money.

Almost three years later, it still is well used, with volunteers — who have been active all along in the development of Lions Field — still playing a big part.

Davis said she learned about cuts that Marquette Township planned.

In January, the township deleted the $4,500 purchase of the swingset for Lions Field from the recreation budget due to health care costs for township staff.

“They wanted to make sure that the employees had benefits,” Davis said.

The loss of the swingset concerned her.

“I thought, ‘Well, rotary can fix that,'” Davis said.

And that’s what it did.

Davis said each club gave about $1,000, plus it applied for a Rotary International grant, which resulted in $6,000 to buy the swingset.

Rotarians then spread the chips, which had to be put into place before the swings were put on the frame.

“It’s a simple story, but it’s what rotary can do,” Davis said. “We’re all about kids, kids and community.”

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