Clown Band donates to Scottville Optimist building.

March 11, 2018

Scottville Optimist Club President Joe Knowles, left, accepts the check from Scottville Clown Band President Jim Lindenau.

Clown Band donates to Scottville Optimist building.By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief. 

SCOTTVILLE — The Scottville Clown Band has donated $2,250 towards the operations of the Scottville Optimist Club building with the challenge to other community groups, businesses and individuals to help offset costs of the building. The Optimist Club’s board of directors recently decided to continue to operate the building while it decides on the building’s future. However, the building’s operating costs have caused a potential deficit for the club.

“There are several things going on with this building and the role it will play as this land is developed into a vibrant park,” Optimist President Joe Knowles said. “We as an Optimist Club know that in order to maintain our mission of supporting the youth and the community, we will need to release ownership of the building. The majority of our club members believe that the best future of the building is for it to be part of the park project and owned by another entity such as a new organization or the city itself. But, it’s going to take a couple years to get there, which is why we have committed to keeping the building open until we can make some major changes. Financial help from our partners, such as the Scottville Clown Band, and the Scottville Downtown Development Authority, is crucial in keeping the building going so it can continue to serve the community during this time of transition.”

Scottville Clown Band President Jim Lindenau presented the check to Knowles during last Wednesday’s Optimist meeting.

“The Scottville Clown Band and the Scottville Optimist Club have always had a symbiotic relationship,” Lindenau said. “Many of the founders of the Clown Band were also charter members of the Optimist Club and helped build this building. The band uses the building for its weekly winter and spring rehearsals. We store our music and equipment here. Our band shell is located on the Optimist Club’s property. This building and the land it sits on truly is the home of the Scottville Clown Band and we as a band believe very strongly in maintaining it.”

One of the major components in the plans to develop the property into a park is a sculpture that will pay tribute to the Clown Band and the town’s agricultural heritage. The sculpture, which is being designed by Scottville area artist Harold Cronk, will be Scottville’s first contribution to the Mason County Sculpture Trail.

“The sculpture is really how this whole conversation got started,” Knowles said. “The sculpture committee chose to place it on the Optimist grounds and that opened up the conversation about how we could make improvements to the building and the green space. We know it’s going to take at least $150,000 to update the building’s interior and exterior. I believe when we accomplish that goal, Mason County will have a new rental venue that will be in high demand. That could greatly benefit the park project itself.”

Knowles said he and the Optimist Club are challenging others to help maintain the building. Donations may be sent to the Scottville Optimist Club, 115 S. Main St., Scottville, MI 49454.

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