Let the Walls Come Tumbling Down
The NMU Foundation held a press conference yesterday at the NMU Center to announce the official transition of the former hospital property ownership from UP Health System to the Foundation.
We got to hear from some of the same people who have been out front of this deal since it was first announced one year ago. With the likely-to-be-demolished Neldberg Building as a backdrop, Foundation spokesperson Dave Nyberg introduced a short parade of speakers representing the various “partners” in the project, led by Foundation CEO Brad Canale.
According to Canale, the transfer of ownership will now allow for the demolition of buildings to begin, the first step in the actual transformation of the property.
I said in a previous post, after Representative Sara Cambensy’s request for an investigation into the process by Michigan’s AG was denied, that I hoped the next time we visited this issue was when we saw buildings coming down. I should have known better.
It looks like the Foundation, which has done a pretty good job of keeping the public up to speed, is determined to stay ahead of any uninformed speculation that could temper the current positive vibes. Credit them for using the services of a professional public relations team to help deliver the message THEY want us to hear, apart from the suspicious ones that tend to dominate social media.
Absent from the meeting was anyone from Veridea, the local firm selected as the master developer. Apparently the order of the process, which has demolition ahead of development, means that we still don’t know exactly what’s planned for the site. And it’s likely Veridea doesn’t either. When questioned about that, Nyberg gave it the ‘we’ll have to wait and see’ treatment while Canale, citing ever-changing conditions, said, “the market will determine the development.”
Was any of this big news? Not really… more of a fait accompli, wrapped in a well-organized press conference, scheduled while many of Northern’s big-shots are in town for their annual Homecoming Week meetings. But it’s nice to know the project is still on track, and the partners are all on the same page.
If you want to keep up with this, on your own, the Foundation has established a website where you can follow the progress, from the razing of buildings to the raising of… whatever it will be. Find it at RenewCollegeAveMQT.org.
When we talk about tough public service assignments, being on a local school board has to be in the conversation. Take the current example of what’s before the Gwinn School Board.
They’re currently discussing whether or not to allow the Gay Pride flag to be displayed in classrooms. No decision has been made yet, and there doesn’t seem to be unanimity on the board. While opinions on both sides are legitimate and well-intentioned, this won’t be an easy call.
One would think making decisions like… Should we invest in new light bulbs for the gym? is the kind of agenda item board members would be comfortable with, but whether they welcome it or not, the climate and culture of today’s classrooms demands tough calls like…How much can and should we spend on security? And, as we’re currently seeing in Gwinn… Which flags are appropriate, and which are not?
School boards have always had to make decisions they knew would disappoint a fair share of their constituency. But in years past, it wasn’t always under the glare of the social media spotlight… where public opinion is often settled even before the deliberating body gets a chance to… deliberate.
We’ll be keeping an eye on where the flag issue goes in Gwinn, as well as how, or if, the Marquette School Board decides to address their nickname controversy, which we covered in Word on the Street last week.
Final Word on Recycling Carts?
By now, you’ve probably received your FREE recycling cart. The bright blue rolling receptacles are compliments of the City of Marquette and The Recycling Partnership… in case you want to know who to thank.
The Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting greater recycling, simplifies their mission with the slogan… Solving for Circularity. So, this winter, when you’re dragging that thing to the curb, during a full-blown Superior snowstorm, full of your discarded plastics, metals, and paper, just remember… you’re doing your part to solve for circularity. I feel better already.
Okay… I know that other communities using the cart system have experienced a greater degree of recycling. At least that’s what the proponents of the cart system tell us. But where we used to see evidence of household waste just once a week… on pickup night, we now see it seven days a week, with the new garbage gargoyles dotting our driveways like so many R2-D2s… not allowed in the house.
Unfortunately, all the complaining in the world ain’t gonna turn this garbage truck around. With that in mind, this will be, or might be, my final Word on recycling carts.
Even though most of the leaves are still green, tee times are still being made, and the grass still needs cutting… it’s never too early to crank up the furnace. It’s not a TV show, so go ahead and turn that dial!