Two 501c3 non-profit organizations exist at Clark Lake. One operates the Clark Lake Community Center. The other is the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation. Under the Foundation’s umbrella are the Spirit Trail, Run Clark Lake, Raft-O-Rama, Crab Races, and this website.
The Community Center board is proposing that the Foundation take ownership of the Graziani house in the County Park. Voting unanimously, the Community Center gave several reasons for this proposed transfer. Among them, they cited an aging board. Three members left it this year, and their board has seen little interest in others joining. The Community Center feels the Foundation is better known and has more resources.
The Community Center exists in the County Park based on a license with Jackson County. A transfer requires the approval of the County Board of Commissioners. To initiate the process, the County has received a Letter of Intent signed by the Community Center and Foundation. It proposes that the typical five year extension become 35 years.
So, does Clark Lake care about this historic cottage?
To gauge the importance of the Clark Lake Community Center, look how it got to the County Park. The Graziani cottage had been on Kentucky Point since the late 1800s. When doomed to the wrecking ball, the community retort was “no way.” Plenty of obstacles stood in the way of moving it. Trees and power lines blocked the roads. It took enormous community buy-in and extraordinary engineering genius to float this 100-year old building down the lake. Today it stands as a monument to a community united to preserve its culture and history.
Watch the video to see how it happened.
The County Park is the oldest in the system. It was sold to the County by a Clark Lake resident for $4500 in 1925. That marked the starting-point of decades of local contributions to the Park, both monetarily and through countless hours of hard work.
Today, the Park’s natural beautiful is enhanced by Clark Lakers who constantly lift it one step higher. The Spirit Trail committee maintains the path that runs through it and the Garden Angels landscape around the house. Just recently, at the request of the Garden Angels, the Foundation funded installation of an automatic sprinkler system to water the Triangle. The Community Center stands as a centerpiece with its inviting verandas and as a place for friendly gatherings.
The Community Center preserves Clark Lake’s past. Dotting the walls are early historic property maps and an enormous 1940s-era aerial photo of the cottage on Kentucky Point. The Eagle Point Hotel, Beautiful Clark, and old post office signs were rescued from destruction and are there for all to see. There is more to come, as this iconic location becomes the living record of what Clark Lake means.
This cottage is now 120 years old. It is in serious need of restoration. There are holes in the soffits, the decks are crumbling, the HVAC must be replaced, and other infrastructure issues cry out for repair. Without action, this building won’t make it through another decade. So often in the past, Clark Lake has risen to the challenge. The Spirit Trail, the new Sign, DamStrong, and so many other community activities illustrate the possibilities for the Community Center’s future.
Going forward, will the Clark Lake Community Center continue to reign, high on its hill? Will it be Clark Lake’s living record, and serve as a friendly gathering place for events? The best days for the Community Center could still be ahead. Are you in?
What do you think? Make a comment about the Community Center’s future.