More Words on the Streets
If you’ve ever gone to the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market on a summer Saturday, you know how popular it’s become. Weather permitting, the Commons becomes a shoulder-to-shoulder experience with hundreds of attendees window shopping the offerings of area farmers, artists, and crafters.
You may not be as familiar with the Wednesday edition of the market. Though it also features plenty of local fare, it’s never had quite the same following as its Saturday big sister. Well, that’s about to change as the Downtown Development Authority is moving the Wednesday Farmers Market to the 100 block of West Washington.
They’ve gone through all the approval processes and will be debuting the new format on Wednesday, June 21st. The market will be open from 5 to 8pm with the street closed to vehicular traffic. Coupled with the new Social District designation downtown, and featuring music from local musicians, the Wednesday evening markets might just become a new “happening” in Marquette.
Saturday’s market at the Marquette Commons is scheduled to start on May 20th.
Vendors and musicians who want to participate this year can find the application here: www.mqtfarmersmarket.com/recent-news/2023-application-and-official-details
Street Talking Continued
As Marquette becomes more popular, and busier than most have ever seen it, traffic and parking will be even more of an issue than it already is. At their latest meeting, the recently revived Traffic & Parking Advisory Committee discussed both our traditional “problem areas,” as well as some proactive measures that might help alleviate the growing stress on our streets.
During a brainstorming session about the congestion we’re experiencing on North Third Street, committee chairperson Barb Owdziej floated the idea of returning the street to one-way, as it was several decades ago.
Though it would certainly relieve some of the crowded conditions that are occasionally downright dangerous, the consensus was that business owners, who were behind the change to two-way traffic in the first place, would oppose the idea. Enough said.
Other ideas were tossed around, including the thought to drop the controversial bike lane. No argument here. The trade-off of providing a few extra feet for the occasional two-wheeler versus narrower lanes for cars and trucks and buses… has never seemed to be good deal. After a few years of this “experiment,” I think many would agree it was well-intentioned, but it might do more harm than good, benefitting neither bikers, walkers, nor drivers. When it’s time to re-do the lines, let’s hope they consider saving some paint and do away with the bike lane.
That’s not to say the committee, and others in the city, aren’t attentive to the needs of those not behind a steering wheel. In fact, once they receive commission approval, Owdziej says the committee’s name will be changed to Complete Streets Advisory Committee. “Complete Streets are a system of streets planned, designed and constructed to provide appropriate access to all users in a manner that promotes safe and efficient movement of people and goods, whether by car, truck, transit, assistive device, foot or bicycle.”
That sounds like something in line with where this city is going.
At Monday night’s city commission meeting, tax exemption approval was given for an apartment complex at 1502 West Ridge, across from the old Shopko building. This complex, called Black Rock Crossing, will include 50 units of “affordable housing.”
In lieu of standard property taxes, the property owners will make annual Payments in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT. So it’s not a total freebie.
Is this another gift to outside developers while residents deal with the recent tax increase? Nope. This is the city responding to the need for housing, affordable or otherwise, that we’ve been saying we desperately need. 50 units doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s a big step in the right direction. One step… hopefully followed by a few more.
What’s in a name?
How do you like the new name? The Marquette Sawyer Regional Airport. I guess it does what it’s supposed to do… identify what and where it is. Other than that, it’s a little tame. But I don’t really have a better idea. I’m not quite sure why we’re still so tied to the Sawyer end of it. Mr. Sawyer was our county road commissioner some years ago and is credited with the center line on rural roads, but at some point it’s time to move on. That was in 1917. What have you done for us lately?
I’ll concede this… regardless of whether we like the name or not, soon enough it will be commonplace and accepted without a second thought.
Reminds me of when the Marquette Golf Club was considering what to name their new course. Dozens of suggestions were on the table, including Greywalls, due to the rock outcroppings scattered around the property. One criticism stood out… “It reminds me of my basement.” Ha!
But even though it had its detractors, Greywalls was chosen, and due largely to the award-winning nature of the course, the name “Greywalls” now evokes only positive connotations.
Looking ahead, I wonder what the new veterans home will be called. Will the Jacobetti name carry on or will a fresh facility provide the opportunity to update our honors?
In all three of these cases, the name is far less important than the product delivered. When I first heard the name Engelbert Humperdinck, I questioned why someone would try to make it with a stupid handle like that. 50 years and 140 million records later, I got my answer.