MARQUETTE HAS TO be envious.
Its next door neighbor, Negaunee, has a classic old theater which is still in use, and now finally, it’s getting some TLC.
Consider this: Over the last two years, the Vista Theater and the annex, which date back to 1926, have gotten some sorely needed repairs to the roof and the back wall, which was caving in.
The back wall of the Vista’s annex had been crumbling. The roof of the theater and annex have also been repaired.
Soon, new seats for the theater will be going in. The interior will also be revamped, the floor repaired, two new concession stands will be installed (one serving liquor), and the entire venue will undergo a deep cleaning.
“In the past we haven’t met people’s expectations,” says Nate Heffron, the president of the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council which runs the Vista. Heffron is also Negaunee’s city manager. “But we’re hoping to change that. We see the Vista as a pillar in this community with the potential to be an economic driver downtown.”
Not only that, but the Vista has events planned for every month this year. Next is a Valentines Day event later this month, followed by the the play “Escanaba in da Moonlight” in March.
Historic building restoration. Downtown activity. And a home for the theater community.
Yeah, Marquette, even with all its theatrical talent and performances, has gotta be envious.
BIG CHANGE COMING at Innovate Marquette, better known as the Smartzone.
Ray Johnson, who was recruited out of Boulder, Colorado more than four years ago to be the CEO of the Smartzone, is leaving.
“I met with the the Board and told them I’m turning 65 and I’m going to retire,” Johnson tells us. “We should start looking for the next CEO to move Innovate Marquette to the next step.”
No end date has been set for his tenure. A nationwide search is now underway for his successor.
Johnson brought Marquette’s Smartzone from infancy a few years ago to what might be considered toddlerhood today. A handful of tech businesses are located here, several are adding employees, and many other individuals are working remotely in tech while living in Marquette.
Slowly, a tech “ecosystem” is being built here–that is, we now have tech businesses, support systems, financial backers, tech-related events, and social networks for tech workers. Johnson’s always contended it’ll take a full decade to develop Marquette as even a small, regional center for tech businesses.
Johnson’s successor will also be the executive director of Invent@NMU which merged with Innovate Marquette in 2017.
WE’VE RECEIVED A lot of questions (and a few complaints) about the Grandview Marquette apartments.
Why won’t they let me live there? I need a home! They’ve got vacancies!
It’s true. There have been vacancies at the 56 unit Grandview (the former Orphanage) ever since it opened more than two years ago, and there is a waiting list to get in, and some folks, eager to move in, have been denied.
“It’s difficult for us to say no,” says Sherry Weise, a property manager for the Grandview, “but we have these income guidelines that we have to abide by down to the penny.”
In other words, if you make too much money, you can’t get in, even if some units are empty. And beyond that, some units are reserved for the chronically homeless, referrals from Pathways, and others.
Complicated. Bureaucratic, and frustrating. But those were the guidelines laid out when the building renovation was funded.
By the way, Community Action is still the community partner at the Grandview, but the daily operations are now being handled by KMG Prestige, a private company.
MORE PRAISE AND recognition for Marquette’s restaurants.
From the Food Network’s “Best Sandwiches in America”—the cudighi at Vango’s (above photo).
Quoting: “…It’s found at most sub, pizza and pasty shops throughout the area, but the heavily spiced version served at Vango’s is known to be exemplary.”
And from mlive’s “Michigan’s Top 20 Restaurants to Visit in 2020″—Jean Kay’s and Elizabeth’s Chop House.
Quoting about Jean Kay’s: “…It’s a super friendly place with awesome pasties and one heck of a kickin’ pasty sauce that we would happily put on everything…”
And about Elizabeth’s: “…We were impressed with the philosophy of only offering the best products, whether dry-aged steaks or fresh catch…”
Reading these reviews and thinking about all the “work” these reviewers have to put in, you have to ask yourself, “How can I apply for one of these jobs?”