SKATE PARK START

MARQUETTE – Many area youth are already taking advantage of the new skate plaza in Marquette.

The Marquette Area Skate Plaza – a collection of challenging obstacles located on the corner of East Fair Avenue and Pine Street – has everything that a skateboarder, scooter rider or biker could want. There are rails, ramps, stairs and a smooth surface to ride.

The plaza took about seven years to build from planning to final construction, said Nheena Weyer Ittner, Marquette Area Skate Plaza Committee member.

“I’ve seen this project grow from the beginning and it’s just amazing to finally see it done being used,” Ittner said.

The committee raised more than $200,000 in cash to help build the plaza, Ittner said. The committee also received $75,000 from the City of Marquette and more than $50,000 in in-kind contributions from people who volunteered their time, machinery and skills to help build the plaza, Ittner said.

“We think we have a state-of-the-art skate plaza that brings all the urban things that riders like to use in one place,” she said. “And it’s for everyone to use.”

Ittner said the only restriction on wheeled devices using the plaza is a ban on motorized vehicles. That means bikers, skateboarders and scooter riders can all enjoy the benefits of the new park, she said.

“We didn’t want to put any restrictions on who could use it because it was made for everyone to have a fun place to call their own,” Ittner said. “We left it for (the kids) to figure out how to get along and use it together.”

So far Ittner said she has gotten nothing but positive feedback from the people who use the park and was even thanked by a few of them one day for giving them a great place to skate, bike and scooter.

Cody Revord, 15, of Marquette is one of the kids who’s enjoying the plaza.

“I like it a lot because it’s the one place we don’t get yelled at for skating,” Revord said. “It’s also nice because you don’t get scratched up as much as you do in the other park because it’s a lot smoother.”

Revord said one of his favorite things about the plaza’s design is that it includes a lot of street features, such as the railings and stairs.

“It’s always nice to have something new to ride,” he said. “My favorite thing is the A-frame because you can do so much with it.”

The Marquette Area Skate Plaza is open for the public to use during normal city park hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“We hope it will be a well used and appreciated place for the kids to enjoy,” Ittner said.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is awhitefoot@miningjournal.net