Hurley Field Playground renovations approved


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Last winter, Marquette Rotary Club Board Member Sally Davis began a fundraising campaign to renovate a playground on the south side of the city, and it all began with a question.

“The impetus came from one resident who asked a question, and the idea grew exponentially. We should all ask questions about how we can improve our city. Then move beyond what someone else should do, to ask ourselves ‘What can I do?'” Davis said.

The Hurley Field Playground renovation was approved during Monday evening’s Marquette City Commission meeting and equipment will soon be purchased and installed late spring or early summer this year. The Recreation Master Plan listed renovating Hurley Field Playground to protect its users as a high priority, according to city documents. Marquette received $15,800 through three local rotary clubs along with the Shiras Institute awarding the city with $6,675 for the project. With those funds and a $250 individual donation, the total amount raised for this project is $22,725.

Equipment from Playworld Midstates is valued at $21,855, and children from the south side of Marquette were consulted about what the new playground will include, city documents stated. A swing set will include two accessible seats, one for ages 2-5 and the other for ages 5-12.

Consulting the children about what new equipment the renovation should include was another cool aspect to the start of this project, Commissioner Evan Bonsall said.

“I think this is a wonderful project and a wonderful thing for the community. It’s a great example of private, nonprofit sector and the city coming together to do something great,” Bonsall said. “When I was knocking doors in south Marquette when I was running for city commission, people would talk to me all the time about Hurley Field and the playground and how it’s such a shame that it’s in such bad shape. And now, we’re making some progress in fixing things up.”

To protect the playground from the ball field, the Marquette City Facilities Department will install the equipment and purchase safety netting and Marquette Board of Light and Power has agreed to donate and install two poles and the netting, according to a city agenda document.

These types of projects never happen without the determination of an individual and Davis was the one to finalize the initiative, Commissioner Fred Stonehouse said.

“It’s a good opportunity to realize again, that things don’t happen unless somebody makes it happen,” Stonehouse said. “And well, rotaries as a whole and certainly the Shiras Institute have done great work over many years and I’m sure will continue to do so. It really was the spark plug, I think, of Sally Davis that said, ‘We’re going to do it.’ … That remarkable piece of leadership will certainly be with the city for many years to come.”

South Marquette is a portion of the town that is known for its “modest home prices” in which housing affordability is doable for young families starting out and Hurley Field is utilized by area families who participate in the ball field, Davis noted. Providing a safe and accessible outdoor recreation facet is important for those families, she added.

“This is a wonderful example of public/private cooperation to improve resources in our community. It’s about the power of Rotary, the commitment of the community, and the passion of the people connected to south Marquette,” Davis said. “I am most excited about the engagement of our community, especially the youth. So many individuals and groups have asked to be part of the work that will occur as the equipment is installed and the playground takes on a new look. Children in the neighborhood were instrumental in the choice of the equipment and are looking forward to taking part in the renovations.”

Though the gist of the project is on its way to completion, people can still donate to acquire more equipment for the playground, Davis said. One piece of equipment that the children’s advisor strived to attain is a piece of equipment that’s accessible for all children and appropriate for those with sensory integration deficit, Davis explained, adding, the Marquette Rotary Club is also looking at funds to provide safety surfacing. To donate, checks can be written to the city of Marquette with a note for the Hurley Playground Project.

Jackie Jahfetson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is jjahfetson@miningjournal.net.


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