The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Deck with a view


September 16, 2017

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

THE OVERLOOK deck at the city of Ironwood's park on Mt. Zion is dedicated Friday. From left are city commissioner Kim Corcoran, Phil Kucera, Leroy Repischak, president of the Ironwood Class of 1957; Mayor Annette Burchell and Paul Anderson.

IRONWOOD - The new overlook on Mt. Zion is a result of a lot of positive efforts falling together, Ironwood Mayor Annette Burchell said Friday.

"It only happened because of a unique collaboration," she said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the overlook deck near Gogebic Community College.

There was fog in the air after a mild rainstorm, but the majestic Copper Peak slide was visible in the distance from the overlook.

About 75 people attended the ribbon-cutting, many of them from the Luther L. Wright Class of 1957 who contributed to the deck project, with the construction spearheaded by Paul Buchko and a youth crew.

Leroy Repischak, president of the Class of 1957, now lives in Huntley, Ill., but was able to make the ceremony, along with many of his classmates. They enjoyed the view from the scenic overlook. They recalled old high school exploits and soaked in the nice weather, planning a meal for later.

The mayor praised many people, including Phil and Judy Kucera, community development director Tom Bergman, city parks director Neil Corcoran and Paul Anderson, of Coleman Engineering, for their roles in the project.

The city parks and recreation committee was represented at the dedication by Tom Kangas and Sam Davey, who recalled a time when the view from the overlook didn't involve any trees. Now the bright colors of fall are about a week or two away from peaking on Mt. Zion and throughout the countryside below.

The mayor noted the city contributed to the project by paving the steep, winding road up to the overlook, with Angelo Luppino Construction, of Iron Belt, Wis., resurfacing the road and pouring footings.

The Ironwood Tourism Council and Forslund Building Supply also assisted in the project, with the store offering a discounted rate on the lumber for the deck.

Volunteers worked on the deck for a couple of weekends, with Anderson involved in that effort.

The department of public works also installed two benches a little farther down the hill, also offering a breathtaking view of the Gogebic Range.

"What a treasure. It's a respite from the world," Mayor Burchell said.

Phil Kucera said the summit of Mt. Zion was established as a natural park in the 1930s, but it had been neglected over the past several decades.

In 2016, a plan was developed to restore the 40-acre park, 1,722 feet above sea level.

Culverts and drain work were also part of the project.

Mt. Zion Drive was paved a year ago.

There's now parking for more than 20 vehicles at the site and a portable restroom. A gate closes the park in the winter.

The viewing deck is 16- by 24-feet, offering a panorama from the Bayfield Peninsula and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to the Porcupine Mountains State Park to the northeast.

The sturdy two benches at the lower lookout were installed earlier this month.

There's no fee to use the park.


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