Pere Marquette Park sculpture to join bevy of beach upgrades

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Celebrating Muskegon, that’s what a new sculpture approved for Pere Marquette Park has been named. It will soon greet thousands of tourists heading to the beach. 

There is just one problem, the city says they need visitors’ help to pay for it. 

They’re crowdsourcing through a site called Patronicity. The city says their community approach to beautifying the city through public artwork has been successful thus far, they need $50,000. 

The Michigan Economic Development Cooperation will match the $50,000 through their Public Spaces Community Places program. 

The 22-foot mixed steel, glass, LED sculpture will be placed smack dab in the middle of the newly installed roundabout at the intersection of Beach Street and Lakeshore Drive which currently greets visitors to Pere Marquette Park. 

The newly installed roundabout at the intersection of Beach Street and Lakeshore Drive at Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon.

The abstract sculpture combines steel beams with glass circles of various woodsy and lake themed colors. The city says its construction represents the industry, strength and dreams of Muskegon. 

It’s being built by a pair of artists who currently reside in North Carolina. The duo has artwork in the Muskegon Museum of Art. 

The sculpture and roundabout aren’t the only things dripping fresh paint at the park. Brightly marked crosswalks, a completely resurfaced pier and parking kiosks. 

This is the first full summer where parking has been charged at Muskegon’s premier lakefront property. Employees at the park’s largest restaurant say it hasn’t deterred business so far.

“We’ve had a really great start to the summer. Parking is a little bit new this year because you need to pay for parking at Pere Marquette, but we have special parking passes for The Deck,” waitress Courtney Dunn said. “It’s $5 to park here and then when you come here, we’ll take $5 off your tab if you bring your little slip in.”

On top of the new things you’ll see if you’re visiting the park for the first time this year, you’ll also be greeted by a sense of newness when spending time at The Deck. 

Part of the reason why was spurred by COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines.

“We just wanted to bring more people in, so we expanded off the back,” Dunn said. “There is a lot more seating back there and we’re hopefully going to be opening it for drinks as well this weekend.”

Most of the upgrades to The Deck come in the form of repurposed metal shipping containers turned into a full bar, bandshell and bathrooms. 

The Deck at Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon.

“It’s really unique and it looks really cool,” Dunn said. “We’re just excited by all the changes, just excited to keep the summer rolling and keep having fun out here.”

When exactly the 22-foot sculpture will be installed is still up in the air, but the city has already raised more than $5,000 towards their goal of $50,000 by Thursday morning. 

The donation period will end Aug. 13 — all donations are tax deductible.

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