Beautification group holds 18th annual awards event

These are the recipients of the Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee Inc.’s annual awards, which were handed out at a Thursday luncheon at the Landmark Inn. Pictured, but not in order, are: Don Durley, Peter Kelly, Terry Durley, Nichole Durley-Rust, Christopher Durley, Jim Koski, Robert Berube, Rose Chivens, Tyler Jenema, Joel Joffee, Kevin Dowling, Jim Jackson, Ed Angeli, Melanie Bicigo, Dan Perkins, Beth Swanson, Rachel Johnson, Dax Richter, Christal Silta, JoAnn Shelby, Charlotte Gravedoni, Justin “Bugsy” Sailor, John Prince and Terry Szczepanski. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Efforts ranging from showcasing unique art in a window display, maintaining an educational farm in a downtown area and adding picnic tables at a local marina were recognized Thursday during the Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee Inc.’s 18th annual awards luncheon.

The event took place at the Landmark Inn.

“The purpose is to recognize our people in our community and in our area that make this such a wonderful place to live,” MBRC President Jill LaMere said.

MBRC Vice President Barbara Kelly acknowledged the MBRC could take the tactic of bringing attention to people not keeping their property maintained. Instead, it recognizes the people who have made a special effort to improve their property.

“The intent of our committee has always been to inspire,” Kelly said.

The award recipients were:

Barbara H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award — Jim Koski for history tours and other activities, and Robert Berube, Peter Kelly and James Jackson on behalf of the Savings Bank Building in Marquette. Koski was recognized for his efforts in sharing Marquette history and culture, which include his popular walking tours.

“You might see a large mass of people following a pied piper-like man walking around Marquette, perhaps near the ore dock or in South Marquette or in the cemetery,” Kelly said.

Berube, Kelly and Jackson have owned the building for 43 years, having made many renovations in that time.

Sparkplug Award — Justin “Bugsy” Sailor. Sailor has been involved in many projects, including the Fresh Coast Film Festival and Plaidurday. He also runs the Upper Peninsula Supply Company in downtown Marquette.

Phil Niemisto Volunteer Award — John Prince of J.P. Electric, Marquette; Ed Angeli; and Terry Szczepanski. The three have been instrumental in the New Year’s Eve ball drop at the Savings Bank Building.

Window Display Award — Zero Degrees Artist Gallery. Painter Catherine Brunet and Charlotte Gravedoni, who specializes in knitting and jewelry, are responsible for the window displays, which show off artists’ work in the four windows within the backdrop of the four seasons.

“The gallery has received many compliments on the windows from their customers, friends and many tourists who seek out the store and enjoy viewing the work inside,” Kelly said.

The gallery is located along Third Street in Marquette.

Great Upper Peninsula Neighbor Award — Dan Perkins, Partridge Creek Farm. Partridge Creek is an educational farm in downtown Ishpeming dedicated to improving local access to fresh produce, building a healthy community and fostering education on sustainable food systems.

Commercial/business Improvement Award — The Courtyards, Don Durley, and Third Street Bagel, Christal Silta. What was once a strip mall in south Marquette has been repurposed into a restaurant/bar, The Courtyards.

“Owner Don Durley lives nearby and envisioned a neighborhood cocktail bar set inside a courtyard-like structure featuring a huge skylight, a massive faux tree with large, overhanging branches and leaves, patio-like furniture and artistic metal railings,” Kelly said.

Silta received funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to renovate the eatery along Third Street in Marquette with steel paneling that resembles wood, with the remaining surface in stone. New steel awnings, signage and lighting will be installed to further improve the building, Kelly said.

Public Art Award — VAST. The Marquette insurance company has formed a “green team” to address waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation and sustainability. It also is involved in funding public art displays during Art Week in the Rosewood Walkway.

Green Spirit Award — Peninsula Plus Pharmacy and the Upper Peninsula Health Plan. The award was granted to the pharmacy on McClellan Avenue in Marquette.

“From the well-kept grass to the large pots of colorful annuals displayed near the front door to the beautiful pond complete with aquatic plants, dragonflies and frogs, the pharmacy’s grounds delight all passersby,” Kelly said.

UPHP, located along Washington Street, was noted for its streetscape appearance, with the company installing an irrigation system around the building’s perimeter.

Great Outdoors Award — Kevin Dowling. Dowling is harbor master for the city of Marquette, and manages Cinder Pond and the Presque Isle Marina. At Cinder Pond, he removed unsightly dumpsters and storage sheds plus added picnic tables, among other improvements.

“Every morning he sweeps all the goose and duck waste off the area sidewalks and piers, and sweeps all the buildings and equipment poles, clearing off the spider webs,” Kelly said.

For more information on the MBRC, visit www.mqtbeautification.org or visit Facebook.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.


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