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Michigamme Township should keep ownership of Pocket Park

There’s been a lot of fuss lately over a 65-by-25-feet parcel of land along Lake Michigamme, specifically at the intersection of Max and Lake streets.

Called the Pocket Park, no doubt in reference to its small size, it’s a big deal to many Michigamme residents, hence the fuss.

Many showed up at a Michigamme Township Board meeting on Monday to oppose efforts to sell the parcel to the owner of adjacent property, which is currently vacant. The adjacent parcel was sold to a Negaunee business owner in July.

Apparently previous offers had been made to buy the Pocket Park land, but prior township boards hadn’t considered them.

Well, a sale is being considered now.

Both sides have their points. Opinions in favor of keeping the Pocket Park, which has a gazebo, open to the public centered on the idea that it’s public land for everyone to enjoy. In fact, people were concerned enough to participate in a Monday rally at the Pocket Park, some holding signs that read “Save Our Pocket Park.”

Other people questioned the designation of the parcel as a park. However, it was mentioned on Monday that the 1872 dedicated plat of the village of Michigamme indicated the platted area is for public use.

The Marquette County Road Commission would have to consider abandoning the parcel, which is part of the Lake Street right-of-way, and if it decides to do this, the township could proceed with the sale. The land attorney approved by the board to perform legal work associated with the sale would have to complete an agreement in 10 work hours.

It should be noted that the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission in 2016 had awarded a “Prosperous Place” Mini-Grant to the Michigamme Township Downtown Development Authority for a gazebo and foundation for the Pocket Park where, as CUPPAD’s website said, “visitors can meet while enjoying this view of Lake Michigamme.”

We understand the desire to sell the parcel, but green spaces that are accessible to the public are important commodities.

We urge everyone involved to take due diligence to make sure the Pocket Park always will provide a view of Lake Michigamme.