In January, and again in May, this website outlined changes ahead for the Clark Lake Community Center. The Community Center is one of two non-profit (501c3) organizations at the lake. The mission of the Community Center board has been to own and operate the building. The other non-profit, the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, publishes this website and serves as an umbrella for the Spirit Trail, Raft-O-Rama, Crab Races, and Run Clark Lake.
The Community Center board has asked the Foundation to assume ownership and to operate the building. The Foundation directors voted unanimously on Thursday, June 24, to accept ownership. This transfer must be approved by the County, which is expected to happen. After the transfer to the Foundation, the Community Center board will wind down and dissolve its organization.
After the initial request from the Community Center to care for the house, the Foundation performed comprehensive due diligence. What did this detailed research reveal? Suggestion: read to the end.
The Community Center is well-loved at Clark Lake.
The Foundation sought opinions of Clark Lakers in a survey. Ninety responded. Of those, 88% said they wanted to see the Community Center repaired. It then queried the importance of the Community Center to the lake on a scale of 1 to 7 (7 being very important). An overwhelming number rated importance in the top three choices. Other results: 84% said they would consider supporting it financially. Thirty-six percent indicated they would be willing to help in some other way.
The results may not be surprising when you consider the history of the Community Center. For a century it stood on Kentucky Point as the Graziani cottage (read a full history by clicking here). In the late 1990s, it faced the wrecking ball. Clark Lakers rose up to save it. A new location was found in the County Park at the east end of the lake. To avoid obstacles like powerlines and trees, the only practical way to get it there was to float it down the lake.
What seemed impossible came to pass. This tremendous undertaking showcased genius engineering skill and the generosity of Clark Lakers. Today the Community Center stands high on a high hill and serves as a testament to Clark Lake’s commitment to preserve its past and culture. Displayed on interior walls are some prized Clark Lake artifacts, with the promise of more to come.
In addition to serving as a meeting place for lake organizations, the Community Center is rented for events—weddings, life celebrations, reunions, birthdays, and the like. What’s not to love about this?
The big bad wolf is at that door.
The cottage is over 120 years old. Extensive repairs were made upon its arrival to the Park. Now they, and other infrastructure issues, are showing wear and tear. Once again, its survival is under attack, not from the wrecking ball, but from age and disrepair.
The Foundation’s due diligence included commissioning an engineering study. From that, a scope of work and costs were established, with a budget line for each problem. Repairs will total between $150,000 and $175,000. If that seems like a lot, consider the current cost of lumber and work force availability. Rental fees cover some basic expenses like utilities, but fails completely to cover major repairs.
The downside and upside.
The “bones” of the house are good and ready to face another eon of Clark Lake history, but only if it receives love from those at the lake. Don’t expect the house to make it through the next five years without the care and attention it needs and deserves. Getting there will happen only through successful fundraising, and it will take more than selling T-shirts. Will the house continue to look out over the lake as it once did at Kentucky Point? This decision is up to Clark Lakers.
The Foundation is creating a fundraising campaign. As it unfolds, the directors hope you will enthusiastically join fellow Clark Lakers to save the Community Center.
Note: Donations can be made at anytime through this website. On the donation page, use the dropdown menu to select Clark Lake Community Center.
How the house moved from Kentucky Point to the County Park is nothing short of remarkable. This video starts with comments from the owner who last owned it when it last stood on Kentucky Point.