In January this website outlined the changes ahead for the Clark Lake Community Center.  The Community Center is one of two non-profit (501c3) organizations at the lake.  The other, 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 take over ownership and operate the building. 

The structure has a long history at the lake.  For 100 years 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 financial support of the lake.  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 caveat:  The cottage is over 120 years old.  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. 

Since receiving the request to accept ownership and operating it, the Foundation is performing its due diligence.  It commissioned an engineering study, and from that, developed a scope of work and estimates for the renovation.  Depending on the extent of repairs, predicted costs range between $150,000 and $175,000.  If that seems like a lot, consider the current cost of lumber and availability of work force.

Can the building be restored?  The answer is yes.  Its “bones” are good.  And, no doubt that some at the lake would vigorously support the renovations and help financially.  As part of the Foundation’s due diligence, its directors must decide: how deep and wide does that support go?  Enough to conduct successful fundraising and otherwise keep the house in good shape?  Soon, a questionnaire will arrive in your inbox, but only if you receive an email whenever a new story is posted on this website.   If you aren’t signed up for the email, it’s easy to do.  Just go to the main page of the website, and sign up through the popup.  In the interim, please feel free to leave a comment below.