By Judy Reed
It was a bittersweet good-by on Thursday, October 18, for longtime Cedar Springs volunteer Pat Capek. Not only was it was her last meeting as a City Councilor, but they threw her nice going away party as well.
“It was really nice. I was surprised at how many people were there,” she said.
It’s not a surprise to those who know her, however, because Capek has served many years here in various roles, and is loved by many people.
She served 16 years on the City Council, and was Mayor Pro-Tem under former mayors Jim Charon, Ronnie Merlington, and Linda Hunt. She sat out one year when she was defeated by Kathy Bremmer, but was elected again the next year.
Capek said her favorite times on the Council would be when they had been working on something for a long time, and it finally came together. Examples she used were of the wastewater treatment plant, the Main Street reconstruction project, and the 425 agreements with the townships.
“It was a big deal for us to see these things come about,” remarked Capek. “These are important things that helped Cedar Springs grow. Look at the west end of Cedar Springs—it’s just exploded. We were stymied on any development because of our wastewater system, and when we built the new one, that made everything possible,” she explained.
Capek loved serving the people of Cedar Springs. “From the very first I considered it a distinct privilege to sit on the council, where you can have an effect on what happens in the city,” she said.
She felt it was her duty to represent the people the best way she could, and she took training through the Michigan Municipal League’s elected officials academy. She reached level 3 and earned her governance award. She served as president of the academy for one year, and also served as a trustee on the Michigan Municipal League board for three years. “The elected officials academy is a great resource for those making decisions for their community,” she explained.
She said she would miss many of the friendships she made while working with other government leaders across the state. “Your not just partners in a project. You see the same people over the years and you build friendships.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the hardest thing she’s went through on the council is the Red Flannel issue. “I’m sad about the conflict between the city and festival,” she said. “It’s a personal heartbreak for me.” Capek sat on the Festival board for 20 years.
There was one thing that Capek didn’t get to see happen. “I had hoped to have a new library before I was gone, but that’s still in the future,” she noted.
Capek said she would still keep busy. Besides having a little extra time for grandchildren and a new great-grandbaby, she still has her sewing business at home, and she works part time at Flaunt It Sportswear. She is also a longtime member and past president of the Cedar Springs Rotary and Cedar Springs Women’s club.
Thank you, Pat Capek, for serving your community so faithfully. We wish you well!