By Adelle Whitefoot
MARQUETTE – The 116-year-old Father Marquette statue has again been vandalized.
The statue, which was first erected in the city in 1897, was vandalized in November with red paint and this time green paint was used. The paint on the statue was reported at 7:53 a.m. Saturday.
“I’m very sad and angry since we just had it restored and cleaned,” said Emily Lewis, president of the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee. “It was just finished up on Tuesday.”
The committee hired Venus Bronze Works of Detroit to restore the statue. The committee paid $12,000 to restore and clean it and another $1,200 to have the same company clean it after it was vandalized the first time, Lewis said.
She added the committee is again offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the damage.
“It’s the only public piece of art that we have and it’s over 100 years old, and to think that someone would deface that statue is very disheartening to me,” Lewis said.
Barb Kelly, vice president of the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee, said she feels the same way.
“This is devastating news because we’ve worked so hard to bring the statue back to bring an object of pride to the community, and twice in recent history to be vandalized is just disheartening,” Kelly said.
She said the committee is looking into putting up a surveillance system in the park to help prevent further vandalism.
“That park is pretty isolated and there’s a lot of vegetation and shrubbery with everything growing around it, so the statue is kind of obscured in there and when it’s dark at night, I don’t think anybody would really be aware of activity going on in that park,” Kelly said. “So we need to rearrange our priorities.”
Anyone who has any information on the vandalization of the Father Marquette statue is asked to call the Marquette City Police Department at 228-0400.