Leadership team to hold fundraisers for Patio Project

The Patio Project will provide a unique outdoor space to local seniors and community members in Manistee County. (Courtesy Photo)

MANISTEE — There have been many new ventures for the Manistee County Council on Aging as a result of the upcoming development of the Wagoner Center, and a new project taken on by a local group will help continue to bring that development to fruition.

The Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2018-19 Leadership Team has taken on the Patio Project — selected as their community service project — which will bring a versatile outdoor space for local seniors and community members utilizing the Wagoner Center.
The project was presented to the leadership team by Sarah Howard, Council on Aging executive director, as one of several potential community service projects they could take on as part of the leadership program curriculum. The leadership team unanimously chose to take on the Patio Project.

The future site of the outdoor patio space at the Wagoner Center. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

“To get outdoors after 41 years of being in our current space is really special,” said Howard. “The seniors and myself are really excited to have a place where they can go outside, enjoy the weather, have lunch out there and do whatever they want to do.”

The leadership team felt the project would be a great way to celebrate the seniors in Manistee County, said Cheryl Hogan, leadership team member from West Shore Community College.

“One of the big reasons we chose this was to give back to the senior citizens in this county who have so much to do with supporting us and our children for years and years,” she said. “It’s time for us to give back to them, and this space is something that everyone will enjoy.”

Hogan said Larsen’s Landscaping provided preliminary designs for the patio, pro bono.

“We started with the million dollar idea and they helped us bring it back down to reality to become something we could do,” she said. “We’re starting with phase one. We are hoping for future phases, including an exercise yard. We’re taking it all in stride and seeing where it goes.”

The first phase of the project will include several universally-accessible garden boxes, as well as chairs, tables and benches. There are also plans to put in a fire pit and provide a covered area to provide shade and rain protection.

“The design may change a bit based on what fundraising goals are achieved,” Hogan explained. “Larsen’s Landscaping provided us with these designs at no cost, and we are grateful at the huge role they have played in making this a reality.”

The fundraising goal for the project is $75,000, and the Leadership Class is enlisting help from the community to reach the goal.

“We are having a brick campaign that we will be kicking off soon, and individuals or groups can buy a brick that will be laid in the patio,” said Hogan.

The engraved brick pavers are offered in two sizes. Each brick offers several lines of text-only engraving, and they are being offered to individuals, families and local businesses. For more information on how to purchase a brick paver, contact the senior center at (231) 723-6477.

The team will also be hosting an “Eat, Drink, Dance and Be Charitable” event at the Little River Casino Resort on May 11. All proceeds of the event will benefit the project.

“It’s going to be a fun evening with a silent auction. There will be dinner, dancing and great food,” said Hogan. “The Little River Casino Resort is sponsoring us for this event so it’s a great opportunity for the project.”

The event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. and those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by April 19. Tickets can be reserved by calling (231) 398-4041 or emailing tiffanyi@lrcr.com.

Donation jars will also be located at a number of local businesses and Blarney Castle gas stations throughout Manistee County.

Howard felt that the project will help continue the goal for the Wagoner Center to benefit not only local seniors, but a variety of groups in the community who will be able to utilize the space.

“I think the Wagoner Center and the Patio Project will benefit all of Manistee County,” she said. “The Chamber Leadership Group are really going to make a difference in a lot of seniors’ lives.”

For more information on the Wagoner Center and Patio Project, visit tomorrowbeginstodaycampaign.org.

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