The Clark Lake Community Center Welcomes You!
Video: Rick Belcher
by Sandy Petykiewicz
The Clark Lake Community Center is a unique and historic part of Clark Lake that has been supported and enjoyed by residents since 1998. But after all these years, the center is showing its age and will need the community’s financial support to make repairs that will keep it in good shape for many years to come.
The Community Center is a nonprofit formed in 1997 after the Clark Lake community was offered the 99-year-old historic Graziani house that was located on Kentucky Point. A group of interested Clark Lake citizens raised $160,000 to move the house to the Clark Lake County Park and renovate it so that the community could use it as a gathering place. Many Clark Lakers remember watching in awe on June 15, 1997 as the house was moved by barge across the lake to the park, where it now stands on a grassy knoll overlooking the east end of the lake.
The Community Center’s mission is to operate the historic building as a meeting place and activity center for Clark Lake area residents, and to maintain the building as a visual piece of Clark Lake. But leaders say that after 20 years of use, many repairs are needed. An estimated $30,000 is needed for repairs, including exterior soffits and fascias, rotted deck and step boards, and repainting of the exterior and decks. These issues are the result of normal wear and tear, animal infestation and weather-related rot. “Many of the repairs that were made to the building at the time of its moving are now 20 years old and are in need of repair, painting or replacement,” said Community Center Board Treasurer John Deming.
The Community Center board also would like to construct an open-air pavilion that would allow larger, outdoor events to be held at the center. Such a pavilion would cost an estimated $108,000.
Center board members say that the repairs must be done soon, while the pavilion is a long-range project that will depend on getting grants and financial support from the community. “It would be an open-air seasonal building that would allow for larger groups to use the center,” John explained.
Currently, the Center’s operating revenue comes from bricks purchased by citizens, rental fees, donations, the sale of other merchandise and fund-raisers such as the Harvest Moon party. That is enough to keep the center going, but not to make expensive repairs. The Clark Lake Community Center Inc. is a 501C3 tax-exempt organization, so donations made to the center may be used as a tax deduction. A donation may be made to the Clark Lake Community Center at P.O. Box 132, Clarklake, MI 49234.
The community has supported the Center from its beginning. The Garden Angels, a local gardening club, has enhanced the building by adding beautiful landscaping. Over the years, the Center has hosted summer programs for children, reading programs, the annual blessing of the Spirit Trail, the dedication of the veterans memorial and many other activities. Families rent the center for graduation parties, wedding and baby showers, anniversary parties, life celebrations, and other events.
Board President John Karkheck said donations of money and time are needed. “It isn’t always about the money; please volunteer your time,” he said. John said the center would like more people to join the governing board to bring new ideas to improve the center. John Deming agreed: “New directors will bring new ideas and vitality to continue the center’s activities,” he said.
Interested? Please contact any board member. The board includes President John Karkheck, Vice President Walter Reed, Secretary Diane Deming, Treasurer John Deming ; and other members–Sandy Petykiewicz, Meredythe Hill-Van Dusen and Dotty Karkheck.