Houghton mulls park move

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Houghton City Manager Eric Waara said the city is looking at relocating the Verna Mize Park, located on M-26.

way on a narrow strip on M-26, a longtime Houghton park could be moving.

City Manager Eric Waara said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting he is looking at other possible locations for the Verna Mize Park. The park was dedicated in June 1981 to Mize, a Houghton native who former Gov. William Millikinen dubbed “the First Lady of Lake Superior” for her environmental efforts.

“It is a nice little park,” Waara said. “If you look online, it gets terrible reviews for where it’s located, even though it’s an important thing.”

Mize, who by the late 1960s was living in Potomac, Maryland, spearheaded an effort to stop the Reserve Mining Company’s dumping of taconite tailings into Lake Superior in Two Harbors, Minnesota. After a 13-year legal battle, the company stopped the dumping in 1980.

The city approved the idea for the park in August of that year after being approached by WCCY radio personality Paul Vial.

A native float copper specimen is included in the park as well as a copper plaque honoring Mize.

When created, the park was larger, said Councilor Rachel Lankton. Widening of M-26 cut into the park, until access meant “park in a parking lot and walk down by a guardrail with cars flying by at 45 miles an hour,” Waara said.

The park will be moved to a waterfront spot over the summer.