Grand Lake Center readies for the future
October 19, 2016
What is a "community", what defines it?
Is it a place or a collection of people? Does community mean believing in the same ideas, working towards the same goals or is it perhaps any place where people accept those living to the right and left of them as neighbors?
One of the most common aspects of a community is a large meeting space used for celebrations, events and civic functions. In centuries past churches or other places of religious gathering often filled this role but in the less religious modern era we live in it typically takes the form of community centers.
Earlier this summer the community of Grand Lake formally opened the Grand Lake Center (GLC), a community event, recreation and resource center located within the old Grand Lake Elementary School building. The GLC is a 22,000 square foot facility sitting on five-acres and includes numerous outdoor and indoor amenities. The GLC officially opened its doors on July 1 but the project has been in the works for close to two full years.
In 2011 the East Grand School District (EGSD) voted to close Grand Lake Elementary. The building remained under the ownership of the EGSD until the spring of last year when the Town of Grand Lake purchased the building from the EGSD for a price of $10 in May 2015.
After purchasing the building an ad-hoc committee was formed to develop a business plan and other recommendations for the center. In Nov. 2015 an Open House event was held at the GLC to review potential uses and design concepts for the facility.
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Going forward the GLC will function as a multipurpose community center hosting events such as Grand Lake's annual Constitution Week, offering a fitness center, holding conferences and seminars like The Disney Way, a satellite business center for entrepreneurs and business people traveling through the area, an artist's studio and much more.
The GLC is also working to develop a few other amenities to offer to the public in the future including a musician's studio and a certified commercial teaching kitchen that can function both as a classroom as well as a rentable space for commercial food production.
Additionally the GLC offers two separate game rooms; one for youngsters six-years and younger and one for anyone over six with an eye for games and activities teens and adults enjoy such as ping pong, foosball and billiards. Another important facet of the GLC is a room within the facility called, "The Social Spot".
The Social Spot is a space specifically for adults, though the room can be rented out independently. It is becoming a bit of a gathering spot for many who call Grand Lake home. Grand Lake Center Coordinator Jane Binford explained saying, "We have coffee every morning, tea, sometimes cookies. It is a place they can come and read papers. It has a television, music. It is a comfortable environment."
This winter the Town of Grand Lake's ice skating rink will be located at the Center as well. The rink will open in Dec. and skates will be available at no charge.
Earlier this week the Grand Lake Center hosted a business seminar called, "The Disney Way" and was the setting for the Rotary Club of Grand Lake's Citizen of the Year Award Ceremony, honoring former Grand Lake Mayor Judy Burke, Thursday evening.
Operational costs for the GLC are derived from a number of sources. Center Coordinator Binford explained the Town of Grand Lake has budgeted some funds for 2016 to run the center. Additionally the GLC has received some funding through grants, held a fundraiser in Aug. and receives some funding through fees for use of the building.
The GLC is planning to hold another fundraising event later this year sometime around mid-Dec. The fundraiser held in Aug. was a community pig roast dinner with all money raised by the event going directly to help with the GLC's operational costs.
A website for the GLC is currently in development. Binford said the Town of Grand Lake received a $70,000 Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) grant specifically for purposes of marketing the events services of the GLC to entities who might be interested in renting the facility. Those monies included funding for the creation of a facility website. Binford pointed out the Grand Lake Board hired a local professional marketing firm for the work.
Binford said use of the GLC facility has been highest this summer on days when the weather was less than desirable. "If it is a nice day outside most people are recreating outside," Binford said. "If it is not a nice day more are in here. We look for the traffic to increase as the weather deteriorates."
The GLC's office is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., even if a holiday falls within those hours. Members of the GLC fitness center can access the exercise equipment and space from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven-days a week through a keyless entry system the GLC provides for members.
If you would like more information about the GLC you can find it on their Facebook page, by searching for "Grand Lake Center" in Facebook or by calling the Center's office at 970-627-2415.