Marquette, Michigan – April 3, 2019 – Marquette West Rotary met Wednesday at the Landmark Inn to talk about several topics, including the Kids Cove Playground at Mattson Park, as well as enjoy fresh salad with chicken wings.
Early in the discussions, Rotarian Bruce Closser talked about attending the upcoming MAPS scholarship event May 21st at the Marquette Senior High School at 6:30pm where seniors will present and receive scholarships. Two scholarships will come from Marquette Rotary West this year.
Ellwood A Mattson Lower Harbor Park modifications and Marquette West Rotary’s role were next on the agenda. Jon Swenson, Marquette City Director of Community Services, discussed revamping the Lower Harbor Kids Cove.
The play ground was constructed in 1996, but it now is in disrepair. It’s a park for kids where care givers can be involved with those they care for. The park was created when local resident Joni Mitchell could not see her kids playing, and she is credited as the early 1990s light bulb that shared the seed of an inclusive play ground downtown.
Over twenty years after it was built, the Kids Cove posts are beginning to rot. Beams are showing wear. Joints are cracking. Kids are now getting slivers. There are lots of reasons to replace the playground, so a resolution was just brought before the Marquette City Commission, which was accepted, and now the project is submitted for a City of Marquette’s Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant for the decommissioning and installing of a new Kids Cove. It’s a $300,000 grant with a required $300,000 match.
As far as keeping the playground at Lower Harbor, the location is seen as a good area for a playground with lots of grass, a bike path, parking, sidewalks, restrooms, etc.
“Friends of Presque Isle Park” now known as “Friends of Marquette Playgrounds” will pay the $300,000 match to the grant. The grant is expected to be approved around Christmas, when the Trust Fund application would be approved. After the grant approval, the Marquette West Rotary will have 2 years to finish the installation of the new Kids Cove Park. Marquette West Rotary has already made an account for maintenance of the park, and the club committed to help with future maintenance.
This playground will be a Universally Designed Playground, exceeding the ADA requirements. A Universal Design means not only barrier-free accessibility but also a sensory-rich design everyone can enjoy. Architect Ronald Mace, who coined the term, explained Universal Design applies when the design is “usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.” The New Kids Cove will also be made uniquely Marquette. Space will be split for two age groups, one being for toddlers.
The club brainstormed a number of designs by looking at what others have built. The same group that built the original Kids Cove Playground shared a couple of designs they were proud of.
The team for this grant hopes this will be a community build if approved. Kids Cove has touched so many people.
Another topic discussed related to the new local tennis courts and basketball courts to be built in town soon because the project has almost reached its fundraising target.