THE U.P. SPORTSPLEX, THE family fun center on Wright Street, is closing down for most activities as of Sunday evening. The building and the property are being sold to the city.
That’s the bad news. Good news? It’s going to reopen, in smaller quarters at the current Peak Gymnastics facility just a block away on Wright Street. With luck, it’ll reopen next weekend, or possibly a week after that.
The bad news? Well, they won’t have roller skating, pitching machines, the turf field, or the miniature golf anymore, at least for now. Just the bounce rooms and the arcade.
The really good news?! They’re currently negotiating to buy or lease a new facility or property in the Marquette area, and they hope to start building or renovating the new SportsPlex facility before the snow melts. And move in by next winter.
Doug Smith, who’s been the GM of the Sports Plex for the last couple of years, is the man behind the move. He’s bought the business from Argonics, and is convinced that the SportsPlex, wherever it lands, has a bright future in town. Business has increased every year.
What will the new SportsPlex include? Uncertain for now. Depends on the size of the building, and what the parents and their kids really, really want.
And of course, it’ll depend on which features–golf, pitching, turf sports, roller skating, or something else–make money.
THAT UNFORTUNATE DISPUTE between neighbors on Front Street hasn’t been resolved yet–the one between the White sisters who are renovating a building for apartments and a wine bar, and their neighbors who own an adjacent parking lot.
The sisters need to resurface an ugly, yellow, three story outside wall on their building to fit in with the historic downtown look, but to do so, they need to set up equipment and scaffolding on the neighbors’ property for a month or so.
The price for access? $30,000. The sisters balked.
Nevertheless, they’re proceeding with the project and are still hoping an agreement can be reached. If not, they’ll use an “alternative method” to resurface the wall but it will be much more costly. Not sure what that means exactly.
Let’s hope for resolution.
The project, in spite of the dispute, remains on schedule and should be completed by late spring or early summer.
So will the first pour at the wine bar (operated by by Everyday Wines) occur in June? We’ll see. Maybe by then, the feuding neighbors will tip glasses and offer a toast to new times and new friendships.
NOW, TO ANOTHER project that’s been slowed, delayed, and at one point, almost killed: the Clark Lambros Beach Park.
The latest word is that the park’s beach house, originally 40 by 60 feet, is being downsized.
The reasons? The cost of the building, the cost of maintaining it, and the opposition of some critics who thought the structure was a bit too imposing for a shoreline project.
It’ll still include not only the beach house with rest rooms, a dressing room and outside showers, but also picnic tables and barbecues, a parking lot, access for the handicapped, and also–if plans work out–a kayak launch and parking lot on the other side of Lakeshore Boulevard.
Michele Butler, who’s spearheaded the plans for the park and is donating the land and a $250,000 escrow fund to maintain it, appears before the City Commission Monday to present the new, downsized plans in a work session.
Keep your fingers crossed. With luck, the first shovel may hit the sandy soil this spring.
It was three, long, exhausting years ago that Butler first told the City Commission she wanted to donate the land to the city. Who knew donations could take this long?
WHAT’S GOING TO happen to the old hospital site once UP Health System Marquette moves to its new site near the highway? That’s a question more and more of us are asking.
And the answers from hospital officials so far are not forthcoming.
Just this from Regional President Jim Bogan: “It’s too early to speculate…but we will keep the public informed as progress is made…Hospital leaders will work closely with city officials and the community to explore future uses for the current campus…”
City Manager Mike Angeli has had only limited dialogue with hospital officials about the site. He’s waiting to hear more.
The concern, of course, is that, once the hospital vacates the premises, the city might be left with a big vacant space–and some ghost buildings–in the middle of town.
Not a pretty sight.
THE BEACON HOUSE, meantime, is waiting to hear whether it’ll be included on the campus of the new hospital.
Beacon House CEO Mary Tavernini Dowling was told several months ago there would definitely be a place for the facility that hosts families of hospital patients. Now she’s not so sure.
Hospital leadership changed, and although current UP Health System Marquette CEO Trent Crabel seems impressed with Beacon House’s mission, thus far he has not committed to putting the facility on the campus next to the hospital.
Which would certainly seem like a good idea. Patients and their families need to be close to each other in times of crisis.
The new Beacon House, wherever it ends up, might cost close to $5 million. Who’s offered to make the first contribution once the capital campaign starts up? None other than Steve Mariucci who’s been the Beacon House’s guardian angel for years.
As for the current site of the Beacon House, Tavernini says she’s already got two interested buyers who apparently like the building (a former hotel) and would not be tearing it down.
MARQUETTE’S IN THE market for a lobbyist.
That’s right, someone who can promote the city’s interests down in Lansing. Our legislators, of course, do that, but they have responsibilities to many other cities and townships, and in these days of declining revenues, Marquette needs a little help from folks who live and work year-round in Lansing.
The dark store issue–which was originally perceived as just a “Marquette problem”–has made this problem very apparent.
City officials are waiting to see who bids for the lobbying job, and how much they would charge for the job.
INTERESTING STORY IN the Detroit Free Press on a U.P. group known as the “War Club.”
It consists of military veterans and law enforcement officials who hone their combat skills in the woods outside Marquette.
Quote from the article: “…They do this, they say, to stay prepared, to keep sharp, to be ready for the day when all hell breaks loose…”
If it makes you feel any better, they say they’re not a militia, they’re not anti-government…they’re more like a brotherhood of men who’ve shared similar experiences and enjoy the quasi-military exercises.
It’s more about camaraderie, they say.
Now, if they would just consider changing the name of their club.
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