In 1996, Tom Collins struck a keynote for what has become the Spirit Trail:  “If common cause is needed as a focal point around which to rally, let us build a PATH.”  At the time the Trail was conceived, traveling the circumference of the lake by bike or foot could be daunting.  For one, it meant exposing yourself to high speed traffic on Jefferson Road’s shoulder.  Tom Collins was joined by many others in the community to change that.  At the time, the publication of Ted Ligibel’s Clark Lake historical book was still fresh in everyone’s mind.  Tom’s keynote continued:  “As the book publication was our tie to the past, let the creation of a safe, off-road, hard surfaced, multi-purpose trail for walking, running, biking, skating, etc., be the vision of the future.”

Today the Trail truly links Clark Lake’s neighborhoods in a practical way.  This physical linking also inspires unity in community.  And there’s frequent evidence of this spirit.   It’s not hard to find someone pitching in to maintain the Trail—without being asked or expectation of thanks.  This morning, Brian Fish mowed along the Jefferson Road section. 

Another project was recently announced on this website—the Sign and Donor Wall along the Trail’s section between Rita and Grand Boulevard.  The side facing the road will welcome passers-by and motorists to Clark Lake.  The opposite side will feature the names of those who have contributed $1000 or more to the Trail.  Previous acknowledgments etched in concrete on the Jefferson Road section have faded away.

Annette Fink is leading the way on the sign.  Here, in this photo, you can see her creating the full size layout.  When you see it this way, it’s big—almost 20 feet wide, and at its highest point, 8 feet tall. 

This paper design serves as a template for the pieces of clay that will create the image.  The clay pieces will be fired in a kiln, all with the colors Clark Lakers love to see on a warm summer day.       

Annette is donating most of the materials, and eleven volunteers have signed on to help. Because of sign’s size, construction is starting in an appropriately large studio, the 2745 square foot Alverno Art studio at Lourdes University in Toledo.  The clay pieces will then be brought to the lake.  Mounting the clay pieces will require employing an expert tiler in the spring.  There will be third party expenses, and the Spirit Trail Committee is creating a fundraiser to cover those expenses.  The Clark Lake community has always been generous.  Donations are tax-free through the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, a 501c3. 

Tom Collins’ prescient words reverberate, “If common cause is needed as a focal point around which to rally, let us build a PATH”.  You can see this Clark Lake Spirit in action as this project unfolds.  You can also see it when volunteers, not expecting thanks, pitch in.  Or when Clark Lakers dress warmly on a chilly March day for the annual spring clean up.  Or when they write a check to fund new sections, repair old ones, or support a project like this.  Tom must be smiling down upon us.