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SwimSmart towers to be installed at Marquette beaches


MARQUETTE, MI— The City of Marquette is getting technology to guard its public beaches.

Three out of four of the city’s beaches haven’t had lifeguards for the past three years due to staffing shortages.

On Monday night, the City Commission voted to waive the bidding process and purchase four SwimSmart warning towers for $95,000. Mayor Cody Mayer says the idea for the towers—which use a system of lights to indicate swimming conditions—was born in Marquette.

“This is a startup that originated here in Marquette, from our SmartZone. I know some folks get a little nervous when we talk about waiving the bidding process, but there isn’t another company that does this, and they have about half a dozen patents making sure that they’re the only company that does this.”

In other action, the commission approved a plan to accept $1 million from the Hirvonen Foundation. It will be used to construct a new bandshell at Presque Isle Park and name it after Peg Hirvonen.

The foundation will donate $100,000 next year to generate plans for the project. It will donate the remaining money once the plan is approved and construction moves forward.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.