Dedication of Marquette Park postponed

Kathleen McGwin

Dedication of the new Marquette Park on the Mont L’eau River has been postponed.  Scheduled for Saturday, June 24, the dedication will take place later this summer.

“We are working feverishly on the new County Park located within the City of Montello,” said Pat Kilbey, County Conservationist. “Due to some construction material shortfalls, we are behind schedule getting the gazebo finished.  Instead of dedicating our park at only 95% completed we figured it was best to postpone the dedication until a later date.”

People are already using the walking trail that goes through the new park.  There are two entrances to the trail.  One is off of Sunset Drive (dredge bank road) by the boat landing.  Signs will soon be in place that mark the entries.  The other entrance is across the street from the Montello City Hall parking lot between the black chain link fences.  The park access is limited to foot traffic only. Only maintenance vehicles are allowed in the park.  

Over two years ago, Bette Krueger, Marquette County Register of Deeds and lifelong resident of Montello took her sister’s advice and began a conversation with Pat Kilbey, County Conservationist and the Parks Committee of the County Board about developing the raggedy piece of property that can be seen from Main Street on the other side of the Montello River that held so much potential.  Bette’s sister is Jean Metcalf Campion.  After an initial positive response from the Parks Committee of the County Board, she talked with Bud Daggett, owner of the property who then donated the land to the county after approval of the County Board.  

A portion of the park is also on DNR property.  The DNR has given approval for the land to be used by Marquette County for the park trail.

Then the hard work began, and Pat Kilbey applied for a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Federal Recreational Trails Program Grant.  The first time the application failed, but the second time Marquette County was awarded half of the project cost with matching money to come from donations and other sources.  

The total project cost is $85,550 with $42,775 covered by the grant.  Marquette County Visitors Bureau has provided $15,000 toward the cost of the project and both the Montello Chamber of Commerce and the City of Montello have contributed toward the new park.  Marquette County has also budgeted some of the matching funds.   

A feature of the park is excellent bird habitat.  Care has been taken to leave sections of the area in a wild state to continue providing good birding conditions.  Daryl Christensen, local birder and President of Muirland Bird Club, identified these birds in the park: Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, White Breasted Nuthatch, Red bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Kingbird, Grey Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Osprey (over the lake), Ring Billed Gulls, and Pileated Woodpecker.

Animals that may be seen in the park and surrounding area include opossum, red fox, muskrat, mink, raccoon, white tailed deer, fox squirrel, and meadow vole.  Vegetation includes green ash, box elder, silver maple, staghorn sumac, cattail, mulberry, dogwood, Eurasian honeysuckle, wild cucumber, mullein, sedges, golden rod and asparagus.

Visitors will also be able to see the foundation of a house that once stood there.  It was owned by Gordon and Mary Werdin for many years.  There was once a bridge that crossed from what is now the Freitag parking lot over the Montello River to the house.  That bridge was built sometime between 1900 and 1909.  It’s been gone for many years.

Watch for the announcement of the new date for the dedication of Marquette Park on the Mont L’eau River, but don’t wait to visit until it is finished.  The walking trails are open now.  

Pat Kilbey, County Conservationist, Buxton Toutant, Conservation Technician, and Daryl Christensen were at the new Marquette Park on the Mont L’eau River last week putting finishing touches on the park.  The dedication planned for June 24 has been postponed until the gazebo is built and the park is fully finished.