Beautification group taking over pocket park

Jill LaMere, president of the Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee Inc., sits in the Phil Niemisto Pocket Park, named after the former caretaker of the park located along West Washington Street. MBRC this year is taking over maintenance of the park. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee Inc. is not being idle this year.

Even though it did not plant flowers along South Front Street this year as the major part of Petunia Pandemonium — that part of the event was suspended this year because of road work on the street — it is taking on maintenance duties for the Phil Niemisto Pocket Park along West Washington Street.

The park is named after its late beloved caretaker, who was a familiar sight in the downtown area as he washed windows.

MBRC President Jill LaMere talked about the committee’s new project, which it is taking on with the blessing of the Marquette Downtown Development Authority.

“The DDA, knowing that we weren’t planning on Front Street, contacted me and was hoping that we might sort of adopt Phil’s Pocket Park,” LaMere said. “They have money to take care of the essentials, but they don’t have enough to staff in order to maintain, and especially to plant.

“So, we decided that it would be just great fun to take this on, and maybe that can kind of spread out to some other organizations who might want to every year adopt the park.”

LaMere said the MBRC’s maintenance of the park is just a one-time thing as far as it knows.

“Next year, we’ll be real busy again,” she said.

Animals already have been busy at the pocket park.

“The bunnies are enjoying some of it,” LaMere said.

The new flowers that have been planted courtesy of the MBRC includes begonias, alyssum and petunias.

The irises, LaMere pointed out, already were in the park.

“We just added some color and some annuals, and we’re not even all the way through the park,” said LaMere, who noted that some areas will just be mulched.

DDA staff, she said, will be in charge of watering and trimming throughout the season while the MBRC will perform deadheading.

Flowers were purchased from Nagelkirk Gardens in Harvey, with the DDA, which promised the committee a donation, paying for the flowers and creating signs to give the committee credit, she said.

MBRC, according to its website at www.mqtbeautification.org, sponsors the annual Marquette Garden Tour in July, among other activities.

People also can make a donation and become a member of the nonprofit organization via the website.

LaMere said this year’s tour is set for July 28.

The committee soon will begin a campaign to solicit donations for a new sprinkler system along Front Street, LaMere said.

She stressed that MBRC receives support from the city of Marquette, but donations, which are tax-deductible, are needed.

In the current Front Street roadwork project, the Michigan Department of Transportation, she said, will be responsible for replacing driveways, sidewalks, dirt and grass, and will plant grass in the fall.

“In the spring, then it will be our job to go back and re-create our flower beds,” LaMere said.

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


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