Pretty Pergola Page

As you may have heard, the Garden Angels’ Pretty Pergola arrived – in parts. Over the last few days Mike McKay organized a group of volunteers to move it into place, and assemble it.  Do you have a memory of assembling a kid’s Christmas present around the tree?  All you do is watch the video, and go to work, right?  Not so with the Pretty Pergola.  The parts were large and heavy.  Ahead was the task of lifting the 22-foot vinyl-clad aluminum overhead beams 10 feet off the ground.

Mike was joined by Lee Wilbur Tuesday morning (8/1) as they mapped out the footprint.  To assure a perfect fit, Mike borrowed an M-R Builder laser.  The task was not going to be finished in a few hours.  This looked like it would take days. Then Phil Simon, husband of Garden Angel Sandy Simon, stopped by.  He rolled up his sleeves and pitched in.  Mike’s daughter, brought them sandwiches and water.  While there, she became interested.  Turns out Stephanie Niezgoda is always building things, and according to Mike, quite accomplished.  Not a surprise considering who her father is. She joined the crew.  Mike said that made all the difference.  “Both Phil and Stephanie are taller, and their reach was a godsend.”

Today (Thurs 8/3), Mike applied a primer coat to the columns.  Once it dries, he will cover it with a cream color paint, a perfect match to the columns on the house.”

While Stephanie was helping the crew, her kids, Olivia and Finley, were perfect angels.

As with so many endeavors at Clark Lake, teamwork makes the dream work.

Thanks to the generosity of Clark Lakers, the Pretty Pergola Campaign quickly achieved its goal.  The $16,000 cost of the Pergola has been defrayed through those donations.  The Garden Angels are overwhelmed by the support, and would like to thank all who joined the campaign and have supported the effort.  Here is their thank you.

If further donations are received for this project, they will cover any unanticipated additional costs or for the Garden Angels to use to purchase plants, mulch, and other supplies.

As the gap of needed funds closed to 84%, this happened.  Chas Timberlake saw the need to order the pergola, and assemble it, during good weather.  He asked “what will it take to finish the campaign?”  The answer was $2,560.  “Pat and I will do it.”  That’s on top of a previous donation to the Pretty Pergola Campaign of $1000!   The Garden Angels are very grateful for this spectacular finish, and to all who are making possible this beautiful addition to Clark Lake.

Keep reading to review the names of who turned this dream into reality.

On the way to the goal, the Pretty Pergola Campaign found support from some familiar faces.  Blair Huff donated $1,500 in the name of the Eagle Point Marina, the Eagle’s Nest Bar & Grill, and Lucero’s Mexican Bar & Grill.  Here’s Blair on the Marina dock.  

The Brokerage House’s Jenifer Scanlon ($500) and her team at the Irish Hills Lake & Home Tour in June.

Over the July 4th holiday came this donation from the Freedom Dogs Lunch.

Those who joined the campaign may have recalled events that have taken place at the Community Center and the natural surroundings that made them special – landscaping by the Garden Angels and the wonderful view of Clark Lake from high on the hill.  The newly restored building itself is part of the picture as is the remarkable act of saving it forever by moving it by barge from Kentucky Point.

What are the events that leave a lasting memory?  Over the years, there have been many – birthday, graduation and neighborhood parties, weddings and receptions, family reunions, life celebrations, volunteers who met to create major benefits for Clark Lake, and fundraisers for lake projects.

Below is a photo from a recent life celebration.  Imagine how the Pretty Pergola will amplify the natural beauty and enhance future gatherings like this.

This Pretty Pergola Page features a poem, celebrating the Garden Angels and this project.  See if the last line doesn’t sum it up.

A Pergola of Hope

By Franklin W. Dixon

A pergola of hope, a garden so green,
Where Clark Lake Garden Angels tend with such care.
The flowers they do grow, so bright and so keen,
They bring joy to all, and lovingly share.

The sun shines down on this garden so fair,
And the birds they do sing in the trees so tall.
In breeze from the lake, and the butterflies there,
They all dance and they play in the garden for all.

A place of peace and tranquility,
A place where one can come to be free.
To forget all their troubles and cares,
And just be in the moment, and be aware.

As they pointed out in their video, the Garden Angels were inspired by the amazing effect a pergola can add to a setting.  Now, they can look forward to applying that transformation to the patio area just west of the Community Center.  The Pergola will match the look and feel of the historic house.  The unit has been ordered and will be delivered soon.  Clark Lake volunteers will assemble it, so that it can be viewed and used during the remaining summer and fall months this year.

This page tracked the progress for the Pretty Pergola Campaign show how the $16,000 goal was reached.  Below are names of donors.  This thank you will be replicated on a Pretty Pergola plaque.


Chas & Pat Timberlake


Joan Ambs
Rick Belcher
Fit Chicks
Mike McKay
David & Sue Woodsum


Freedom Dogs Lunch


Eagle’s Nest Bar & Grill
Eagle Point Marina
Holly Bolenbaugh
Tucker & Tricia Boyers
Diana Eisele
Lucero’s Mexican Bar & Grill
Jenifer Scanlon
Bill & Ann Searles
Kevin & Lucia Thomson
Mick & Betsy Thorrez




Byron Crary
Elaine & John Stewart


Michele & Louie Ambs
Kirby North Ancona
Gerald Burns
Peggy Collins
Angel Ligibel Dandar and Jim Dandar
Stacy Harrison
Ron & Beth June
John & Dotty Karkheck
Douglas North
Sandy Simon

With donations of $16,000, the Pretty Pergola Campaign has achieved 100% of the goal.


The purpose of the Pretty Pergola extends beyond its engaging appearance.  It will offer an inviting place to sit and observe the lake, to set up tables for refreshments or a meal, or to hold a ceremony.

The search for the perfect pergola resulted in a structure that is 20 feet by 12 feet, and 10 feet tall.  That will cover the patio area just west of the Community Center.  Why 10 feet high?  That works best when looking from the veranda of the Community Center.  The beams will provide 75% shade.  Columns will match those on the house, and the structure’s build projects a substantial feel.  Effort was also put into finding a pergola that will stand up to Michigan’s changing seasons.  The objective was to ensure that it will not need significant repair, that it will maintain its beautiful appearance, and remain serviceable for decades.

The idea behind choosing this pergola was to find one that adds to magic to its location and will endure.  The $16,000 cost is not high by today’s standards, especially when the aforementioned attributes are carefully considered.

Here’s how contributions to the Garden Angels Pretty Pergola Campaign took place – 1) by donating through this website by clicking here, and checking the box that says “I would like this donation to go to a specific fund” and choosing “Garden Angels.”  2) by writing a check made out to Clark Lake Spirit Foundation with “Garden Angels” in the memo line and send to PO Box 224, Clark Lake, MI 49234.  The Clark Lake Spirit Foundation is a 501c3.