by Caitlin Huston
TWELVE MILE —
For Twelve Mile residents, the presence of the Cass County Community Foundation in their town Monday night was a welcoming sign.
At a packed town hall meeting Monday, the CCCF reached out to residents of the town, many of whom said they were happy to have someone show interest in an area they say is often overlooked. With $90,000 up for grabs for non-profits in county, residents pitched grant ideas from replacing Christmas lights to adding signs to advertise the town.
Deanna Crispen, head of the CCCF, said that while the foundation has been very active in the county, it hasn’t worked extensively in Twelve Mile.
“We know we can do a better job in Twelve Mile than we’ve done,” Crispen said.
Looking at a map of pins marking scholarships or grants in the county, state Sen. Randy Head, a member of the CCCF board, also said he’d noticed a outreach to Twelve Mile.
“There’s a great big hole to the northwest side of Cass County,” Head said.
But, Head said, the CCCF will be able to help the region as it awards monetary grants while keeping very little overhead for itself.
“Most of what’s going to us goes where you want it to go,” Head said.
Asked for improvement ideas in Twelve Mile, some of the about 95 residents in attendance suggested adding new bleachers to their baseball fields, new roofs on park pavilions, new street lights and replacing some of the Christmas lights used for their pageant.
Crispen suggested that the money generated from the meeting — the foundation donated $20 for each resident who attended — could be used to fix problems like the Christmas lights in a short period of time.
Pastor Darlene DeHaii of Twelve Mile United Methodist Church said she’d like to see some new signs directing people to the new businesses and attractions in the town.
“I’d like to have some signage that would say ‘We’re here,” DeHaai said.
Grants for these projects are necessary, said Mark Lowe, a Lion’s Club member, because Twelve Mile is an unincorporated township, meaning that many of the town’s areas and functions are supported by donations rather than taxpayers.
“We don’t have a tax base,” Lowe said.
Paul Ulerich, democrat chairman for the county and Twelve Mile resident, said he thinks his fellow residents will continue to think of ideas in the coming weeks.
“This will generate a lot of thought,” Ulerich said.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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