Marquette DDA and local businesses continue to fundraise for Phil Niemisto statue

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MARQUETTE — The Marquette DDA is continuing their strides to raise $12,000 – the amount needed to install the life-size statue of Phil Niemisto in downtown Marquette.

“We are now at $8,700, which is fabulous. People have been so generous,” said Mona Lang, the Executive Director of the Marquette Downtown Development Authority.

Between maintaining the flowers in his pocket park, and keeping store front windows squeaky clean, Phil has built quite the reputation with downtown business owners.

Jennifer Ray, co-owner of the Delft Bistro, shared, “Whether it’s customers that know him, or any of our staff, we just adore Phil.”

And that’s why many of the local businesses have joined forces with the DDA in raising funds for Phil’s statue.

Lang said, “Right now, we have jars out that say ‘Fill for Phil’ at some of the local businesses. So, if you frequent any of those businesses, you know, every dollar counts. We’ve raised about $600 through those.”

Along with the jars, the Delft Bistro is hosting a fundraising event next Sunday, September 17th.

“It’s $10 to get in, and it’s from 3 to 5. We’ll  have a silent auction with a lot of items from local businesses downtown and all around. And, we’re going to do what we can to help support the funding for the statue,” Ray said.

The sculpture will not only add local art to the downtown community, but also honor the man who has worked for decades to make our community special.

Lang says, “Phil is, I think, brings out the best in all of us and what we’d like to be. He’s a common man that shows what you can give back to your community – and he’s done it all his life.”

If you’d like to donate, you can stop in to various store downtown to ‘Fill for Phil’ – OR – you can write a check to the Marquette DDA, on 203 S. Front Street, Suite 1-B, with “Phil’s fund” in the memo.

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