Letter to the Editor: Friendship Center needs community support.

March 10, 2020

The Pentwater Friendship Center.

Letter to the Editor: Friendship Center needs community support.

Dear Editor,

The Pentwater community has an opportunity to come together as a township and village to fund a new community center, but will they?

In 2019, the village decided to use money from the Friendship Center fund (monies from the village millage of .35 mills) and its general fund to renovate the Friendship Center. We also gratefully, received a donation from the Pentwater Junior Women’s Club.

Since the early 1990s, this structure has mostly been a gathering place for village seniors to eat a subsidized lunch, play cards and enjoy other activities. Additionally, it was a place for events and meetings. In recent years, because of declining numbers of seniors, the lunch program and coordinator paid for by Agewell was discontinued. These events and the building being in need of repair, caused the space to be less utilized.

The village decided to renovate the building to bring new life to the space. We did not vote to have it compete with the amazing new Oceana County Council on Aging facility in Hart. Nor is it meant to mostly be used as a government meeting place. But rather, an opportunity to offer a beautiful space to meet up with a friend, have a Mommie and Me Class, enjoy a cooking class, have a meeting, do a seminar, play cards, host a wedding and anything else one can imagine. I want this space to be another Pentwater Pride, where one goes for that feeling of community, and caring, we all moved here for.

The work now underway is expected to be completed by early summer. However, to have this opportunity for all to come fully to life, it needs funding. Not from just village residents, but all of Pentwater. This attitude is consistent with one of the key learnings from the just-concluded Pentwater Visioning initiative, in which residents said there needs to be “greater collaboration across all agencies and the whole community.” This is what Pentwater Township residents — living inside and outside the village alike — told us. Our community benefits by everyone sharing in the cost of the operating the library, fire department and cemetery. Why not an indoor, managed, central gathering place as well?

Thank You,
Claudia Ressel Hodan,
Village Trustee

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