PERE MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, MICH. - A Ludington-area township has received a "letter of interest" from a community-based organization seeking to purchase a parcel where a large cross is placed and an offer for free legal assistance.
The site is known as the Pere Marquette Memorial site. It's believed to be the spot where Father Jacques Marquette, the Jesuit missionary and explorer, is believed to have been buried in 1675. It's designated as a Michigan Historic Site.
A Ludington lawyer informed the township on Feb. 9 efforts have begun to revitalize the Pere Marquette Memorial Association.
The organization is interested in purchasing the parcel of township property with the cross, but is not interested in a second parcel where the township's boat launch exists.
The letter of interest pledges to fulfill $80,000 worth of repairs the township previously planned for the base of the cross. The proposal includes a pledge to establish a fund allocated for annual maintenance of the site.
Tuesday, Feb. 13, the board agreed to obtain a professional appraisal for the parcel so the parties can move forward in negotiation a purchase price and finalize details of the transaction.
The Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists says the marker is unconstitutional, since the religious symbol is in a public park.
The cross has been above Pere Marquette Lake since the mid 1950's. The activists say the cross needs to be removed.
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