Sale of Heartwood parcels ill advised

To the Journal editor:

I’ve been out of town a few weeks and upon my return I am made seriously heartsick to learn of the sale of several strategic parcels of the Heartwood properties.

As this (was) the weekend of the Ore to Shore Epic mountain bike race, this news was both stinging and perplexing.

The Ore to Shore is a discrete event thus allowing some calculus of its community impact. The economic shot in the arm to the Marquette economy from each running of that race undoubtedly exceeds a decade’s worth of the projected property tax and other economic effects attributed to this property sale and development.

A great number of the out-of town racers return to ride the now nationally recognized trail system throughout the year.

It is harder to quantify the economic impact of those visitors in the remainder of the year but I see an incredible number of downstate and out of state license plates toting Mountain and Fat bikes.

Indeed, last year’s beer fest was attended by several organized Grand Rapids bicycling groups and they were here before to opening of the beer festival to have time to ride more of the trails than just the weekend would allow.

Not just the bicycling community, but also the Marquette business community owes a debt of gratitude to people like Scott Tuma and Mike Brunet.

I remember Mike’s pride in the community when he told me that Marquette had legitimized and sanctioned the trail building in Heartwood.

Subsequently, I saw the now very public organizing and investment of sweat equity double, and then re-double, again and again. Now, one of the most labor intensive and popular trails will be abridged and its most attractive qualities compromised.

At a time when the Keweenaw un-imaginably turns an economic corner by building trail and drawing more of this enlarging tourist demographic, Marquette is selling out its resident biking community and cutting into its prized attractions.

This is the equivalent of an Adventure Park, say Cedar Point or Six Flags, cutting out two of its most popular thrill rides so an entrepreneur can build a parking lot.

What’s next, condos on Presque Isle?

Dennis Klebba