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Viking and veterans: Norway unveils new downtown parks

Norway City Council member Ed Menghini cuts the ribbon at the new Veterans Park next to the American Legion hall in Norway on Saturday. From left are American Legion member Bob Clutter, Michigan state Sen. Ed McBroom, American Legion member Carl Kalcec, American Legion member Dennis Lynch and Norway City Manager Ray Anderson. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

NORWAY — The city of Norway’s “pocket park” has a new look, as well as a new name.

The focal point, on the corner of Main Street and Seventh Avenue, now will be referred to as “Viking Square.”

Community officials and residents gathered Saturday for a special dedication ceremony of Viking Square and the new Veterans Park, next to the American Legion hall on Main Street.

The city received 89 renaming contest entries — with Connie Hallgren of Norway and the Holy Spirit Catholic School sixth- through eighth-grades both submitting “Viking Square,” Norway City Manager Ray Anderson said.

The name is perfect to honor the city’s Scandinavian heritage, Anderson said.

From left, Norway American Legion member Bob Clutter, Leif Erikson Festival Committee member Nancy Sundstrom, Legion member Carl Kalcec, Leif Erikson Festival Committee member Barb Thorne, Legion member Dennis Lynch and Norway City Manager Ray Anderson help unveil the Viking statue Saturday in the new Viking Square pocket park in downtown Norway. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

“It shows off a little bi

t of the town’s history,” Michigan state Sen. Ed McBroom said. “It’s important we celebrate our special community.”

The Viking statue, featured in the center of the square, was unveiled as well. The large statue had been housed in the City Hall for the past three years and moved to its new home Friday for the dedication.

McBroom brought a Michigan state flag and United States flag, once flown over the state Capitol, that will be raised on a pole to be installed at the Veterans Park.

They plan to add picnic tables and benches, as well as more plantings.

“We hope to also have a veterans mural done on the side of the American Legion building,” Anderson adds.

The “welcoming projects,” funded by the Downtown Development Authority, are being completed in phases.

The new look of the “North Nordic”-theme pocket park was sought after because it was in need of a lot of maintenance and overhaul. “It was decided to rip it out and start from scratch,” Anderson said.

Blomquist Architects of Iron Mountain came up with the design, with the project awarded to Second Nature Landscaping in Breitung Township.

Peterson Welding provided the iron fencing work. “They will look very sharp when they are installed,” Anderson said.

Lighting for both parks will be done by the city’s electric department.

“Contractors have been so great to work with,” Anderson said.

The DDA hopes to work with the Jake Menghini Museum in Norway to develop more focal points for visitors and residents to learn more about the city’s rich history.

“The city has a great partnership with the DDA, and looks forward to future projects,” Anderson said.

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