- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A massive piece of copper that’s a popular draw for school kids and tourists at a park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula could be removed if a $255,000 fundraising goal isn’t met.

The 28.2-ton piece was found by two men using a metal detector in 1997, The Mining Journal of Marquette reported (https://bit.ly/1gz3LCW ). It was loaned to Marquette’s Presque Isle Park in 2010, with the idea that the community would eventually buy it.

The piece found near Hancock is what’s known as glacial float copper because it was naturally formed and carried or floated along by a glacier. The piece sits on a berm across from the Superior Watershed Partnership’s office, and visitors often pose with it.

“Time is running out,” said Carl Lindquist, executive director of the partnership. “We have to raise the money this year.”

The copper piece, Lindquist said, has become a community asset.

“We see thousands of people stop every year,” Lindquist said. “It’s amazing. We talk to a lot of them and some of them, it’s one of the main reasons they’re coming to the park.”

The partnership is among those who want the copper to stay put, and the Marquette County Community Foundation has established a special fund for the effort. If the money isn’t raised, Lindquist said, the copper piece could be removed and melted down for industrial use.

The Marquette County Community Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer Gail Anthony said an original deadline for purchasing the copper passed and that the owners allowed an extension. Officials in Marquette aren’t identifying the owners of the copper piece.

It ended up in Marquette mainly due to the efforts of Upper Peninsula historian Fred Rydholm, who died in 2009 before it relocated.

“They know they can sell it on the commercial market, but they’d rather not do that,” Lindquist said of the owners. “Fred is the one who worked with them. They are also supportive of Fred’s dream for the copper. They’d like to see the money raised and save it from being smelted.”

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Online:

https://www.marquettecountycommunityfoundation.org

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Information from: The Mining Journal, https://www.miningjournal.net

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