NEW BUFFALO — The New Buffalo Parks/Harbor Commission learned of a new home for a work of public art during its Feb. 4 meeting.
Nora Howe (a member of the city’s Lifeguard Committee) noted that the “Effervescence” sculpture by Jaci Willis was recently moved from the riverfront to Oselka Park. She said several City Council members moved the sculpture to get it out of harm’s way in the form of high water levels in the Galien River.
The sculpture was dedicated on July 3, 2017, in memory of Dan Donnelly, thanks to the local efforts involving the Harbor Country Public Arts Initiative. Donnelly passed away in April of 2015. He was a leader in many community organizations, including New Buffalo Township Library Board during the planning and construction its new facility, youth sports and Little League baseball coach, Lions Club, St. Mary of the Lake festival, Sunset Shores Homeowner’s Association and the Southwest Michigan Advocacy Centers.
A native of Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, he and his wife, Mary, raised their family of eight children in New Buffalo where he owned and operated People’s Insurance Agency.
New Buffalo Mayor John Humphrey said the Effervescence sculpture was moved under the direction of himself, City Council member Roger Lijewski and members of the Donnelly family.
“It’s great that it’s in the park,” Howe said, adding that she would like to see some plants or grasses placed around it as a deterrence to children getting too close to the sculpture …
Howe also told members of the commission that Michigan City just reinstated having lifeguards and are trying to hire 14.
New Buffalo Parks Director Kristen D’Amico said New Buffalo has so far received four applicants (two of which are actual lifeguards) plus five likely returnees from 2020.
“We’re in pretty decent shape for the fourth day of February.”
She said the goal is to have seven full-time lifeguards with two part-time.
“We’re trying to do seven days a week,” D’Amico said.
She added that Bridgman is supposed to open up their pool on April 1 for lifeguard certifications (needed for New Buffalo’s guards).
Tony McGhee of Abonmarche provided an update on plans for the Smith Street Pocket Park (which he said are 97 percent complete).
He said plans for the Michigan portion of the Marquette Greenway Trail which now would be in the MDOT and partial Amtrak right-of-ways have slowed the process down, adding that the plans pertaining to the railroad are going to them “this week” for review.
“What we’re going to do now is wait to see how long that Amtrak easement (in a portion of New Buffalo Township) takes. If it’s going to take a while we’re going to bid that project this fall separate of the (Marquette Greenway) project. If it looks like Amtrak is going to play ball we are going to bid it as part of the whole Marquette Greenway Trail in the spring/summer of next year.”
McGhee noted that The Pokagon Fund and the State of Michigan have indicated they are fine with extending their grants for the project.