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TICHIGAN — John Holz still remembers helping his father build the Tichigan Lake Lions Club Civic Center nearly 50 years ago. Now, Holz, who has been a member of the Lions Club for 25 years, is helping renovate the space that so many in the community have utilized over the years.

“My wife and I had our wedding reception here 44 years ago, and we’ve seen the changes since then and now were anxious to see the changes again,” he said. “We’ve come here for everything. We used to have a hunters’ ball and St. Patrick’s Day dance, and renting it out for weddings… you name it.”

The Tichigan Lake Lions Club held a groundbreaking event Saturday at the civic center, located at 6710 Big Bend Road (Highway 164) in the Town of Waterford. The center, which was constructed in 1969, is being renovated to update the kitchen, bar and roof. The restrooms are also being renovated in order to meet compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Renovations, which have already begun, will add an extra 1,500 square feet to the building.

The renovations will total approximately $250,000. About half of that amount has already been raised through the club’s general building account. The club will be taking out a loan to pay the remaining amount. Much of the work will be done by the Lions Club members themselves, according to Tichigan Lake Lions Club President Nate Kreger.

“Free time and weekends is how we’ve built this structure so far,” said Kreger. “I’ve had a lot of helpers help me through the night.”

Kreger said much of the work will be done in time for a bingo night at the center on March 6. However, the club will be hosting a Daytona 500 race event on Feb. 17, where the public can get a preview of the renovated center. Kreger said he believes all of the renovations will be completed by summer.

The center has been used for many events over the years, according to project committee chair Bill Burke.

“Although the Tichigan Lake Lions Civic Center is maintained and operated by the service club, it is truly a community facility,” said Burke. “The civic center hosts many local events including Bingo, blood drives, vision screening training, activities for seniors … among others.”

Well-used facility

The center also is used by the Tichigan Sno-N-Go snowmobile club and local Boy Scout troops — free of charge. The center can be rented out for events or weddings. Waterford Town Chairman Tom Hincz said the center is very important to the community. He believes the renovations will add value to the center.

“I think it’ll bring more people wanting to utilize the facility,” said Hincz, who helped the club with the permitting process for the renovations. “For us old-timers, it’s pretty exciting. We’re going forward instead of going backward or keeping things level.”

The groundbreaking event, which was attended by about 50 citizens including Lions Club members and local politicians, included information about the renovations. State Sen. David Craig, R-Town of Vernon, was present at the groundbreaking event.

“It’s great to see the personal investment by all these guys,” said Craig, whose district includes the Waterford area. “Sacrificing time to do all this stuff on their own volition and their own dime is kind of unbelievable and we’re very happy to see it.”

The club is accepting donations for the renovations. If you would like to make a donation, you can call Burke at (414) 975-1042. If you’d like to rent the space for a future event, you can call the club at (262) 895-6268.

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