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Tag Archive | "Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation"

CS Area Parks and Rec program could be dissolved

If you are interested in what happens to the program, you might want to attend this meeting.

By Judy Reed

Unless more funding comes through, a popular community program could be eliminated. The board for the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation program (now called North Kent Community Enrichment) will meet on Monday, June 10, at 4 p.m. at Hilltop to decide the fate of the organization.

The Post asked for clarification from the board on what is happening and why they are in trouble. A call to board president Alexis Ader was not returned, but board secretary Sara Thornton agreed to talk with us, as did Director Amanda Gerhardt.

Hundreds of kids and adults take part in the various enrichment activities offered each year through CSAPR. Events include a variety of classes and other events, including bus trips (such as to the Detroit Tigers, and shopping trips to Chicago); Concerts in the Park during the summer on the third Thursday of the month; music lessons (ukelele, guitar); swimming lessons; art camp; Broadway boot camp; sports clinics and camps (football, wresting, volleyball, basketball, baseball tennis, soccer, etc); yoga; aerobics; zumba; twae kon do; origami; the ever popular daddy/daughter dance (which is a sellout each year); and the mother/son Whitecaps game. 

While the number and variety of programs has increased exponentially, the funding level from the various municipalities has not kept pace, according to both Thornton and Gerhardt.

The program was originally started 33 years ago as an answer to the school district no longer doing Adult Education. The school district, the city of Cedar Springs, and several other municipalities joined together to give seed money to the organization annually to help fund programs.

“When I first came on the board 16 years ago, the municipalities were paying $4,000,” said Thornton. Now it’s at $6,600.”

The 2018 audit showed that the City of Cedar Springs, and the townships of Algoma, Nelson, and Courtland all paid in $6,000; Solon Township paid $5,250; and the school district chipped in $2,500. The numbers are up to $6,600 this year for the municipalities and $3,200 for the school district, according to Gerhardt. But it’s still not enough.

While the 2018 audit shows that revenues from the programs have also increased, the organization continues to have more expenses than income, especially in the areas of payroll, insurance, and technology. This is causing their net position to decrease to the point where they may not be able to cover program costs in the coming year. 

While Thornton and Gerhardt both agree more funding is needed to continue the program, that’s where their agreement ends. Gerhardt, who is resigning as director after 13 years to follow another career path, wants to see the board continue the program and hire another director. But Thornton said she thinks it’s time for the program to end.

“When I was appointed to the board 16 years ago, I thought, ‘This is awesome! I get to plan things for the community.’ I was on the board, and then went off, and came back three years ago. It’s been very difficult the last three years. Before, the municipalities knew how parks and rec was run. Now, they don’t understand the value of giving seed money. 

“Amanda has done a great job—she has grown the program,” added Thornton. “I count it as a badge of success to have been part of the board that hired her. But I don’t think we are going to be able to get anyone to do what she does at that salary ($39,000) with no benefits. We’d probably go through three directors in one year.”

Thornton said the board and municipalities have been aware of the diminishing numbers. “For those who want to claim that they didn’t know we were going in the hole, they did get the numbers. They just didn’t want to be part of a board that was closing down,” she remarked.

At two meetings last week, the board asked the municipalities to raise their giving to $16,000—an almost $10,000 jump. Thornton doesn’t think that’s feasible. “I don’t want to beg for money. I just think this funding model has met its end. I hope the community knows we did our thing, and it’s not ending through mismanagement of anything.”

She noted that if the program dissolves, many of the programs they currently run could be picked up by other entities, such as the school, or other area community education programs, such as Greenville and Rockford. She also acknowledged that there could be some holes for some of the programming they provided.

Gerhardt thinks the funding is still manageable, but with smaller, incremental increases to get where they need to be. She said that the North Ottawa Area Recreation has a similar funding model, but they fund at much higher levels. Many communities, like Rockford, have a millage for funding their community education programs. “They generate a million dollars on their millage,” she said.

Gerhardt also noted that another community service, the Cedar Springs Library, secures funding from the City of Cedar Springs and Solon Township through a millage. Solon pays .4 mills, which equals over $71,000. “Solon pays more to the library than all our municipalities combined and doubled,” she said. 

Gerhardt said that regardless of what decision the board makes on Monday, all programs scheduled for this summer will go ahead, although she may not be at many of them. “I’ve already delegated a lot of them to other people,” she explained.

Gerhardt said the Parks and Rec meetings are usually held in the Rotary room in the annex at Hilltop, and there will be a sign in the entryway pointing where to go. 

To see the 2018 audit, click here

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Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

Praise the Lord at Cowboy Church

Jan 28: 2nd Chance will be having Cowboy Church on Sunday, January 28th at 6 pm. It will be at 2nd Chance School at 810 – 17 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs (corner of 17 Mile and Olin Lakes Rd). Music and ministry will be shared by the group, North Country Band, who will share their musical talent. Invite your family and friends. Cowboy Church will be every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Each service will have different people sharing God’s word and music. Cowboy Church will introduce you to 2nd Chance and its vision. The school is in the building stage, which when completed, will teach troubled teens through God and the horse. If you have questions, call 616-293-2150. See you there! #4

The Family Experience

Feb. 3: Join us for a family fun event full of games, ice cream, skits that teach and lots of laughter! Oh, and did we mention that this is completely FREE for everyone! Check us out on Facebook “FX-The Family Experience”@rockfordres. Resurrection Life Church, 3233 – 10 Mile Rd., Saturday, February 3rd from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. #4

Make your own Valentine Cards

Feb. 5: Make your own valentine cards and other items on February 5th with Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation. Classes are $20 and include the supplies to make the card other than adhesives. Pre-registration is required by Friday, February 2nd and can be done online at www.csaparksandrec.com or at the office in CSPS Hilltop Monday-Wednesday. For more information visit the website or call 696-7320. #3,4

The Art of Papermaking

Feb. 6: Back by popular demand! Create unique handcrafted paper with artistic flair and style. Learn techniques to create decorative sheets of paper using various fibers and pulp, a mold and a deckle. Pre-registration required. For adults. Tuesday, February 6th at 6 pm at Spencer Township KDL Branch, 14960 Meddler Ave., Gowen. Visit www.kdl.org for more information, 616-784-2007. #4

Auditions for Actors del Arte

Feb. 8: Actors del Arte Ensemble will be holding auditions and casting calls for the upcoming show “Saw Dust and Magic” a comedy/drama about the early circus life of the 1900’s. Casting call runs through February 8th. Looking for all ages, men women, teens and children. Interested parties please contact the director Patricia Rose at 616-874-5264. #4

Valentine’s Snowshoeing at HCNC

Feb. 10: Bundle up this February for a candle lit snow shoe walk! You will make your way on a guided walk to our bonfire, where you will enjoy refreshments and S’mores, before heading back out on your walk. If the snow decides not to show, this will be a trail walk. Remember to get goodies for your sweetheart at our bake sale. All ages welcome. Snow shoe equipment provided. Saturday, February 10th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Final walk leaves promptly at 8 pm. Non-members $5/ members $3. Pre-registration requested, www.howardchristensen.org. 616-675-3158, Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16160 Red Pine Drive, Kent City. #4

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Concerts in park kick off summer

The band Mane Street will is the opening band for this year’s concerts in the park. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation will kick off their summer series of free concerts at Morley Park tonight—Thursday, June 15, with Mane Street at 7 p.m.

Now in its 11th year, the concerts put on by Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation and sponsored by area businesses give people a chance to relax with friends and family, while listening to some great music.

There are concessions on site, and free raffle tickets give concert-goers a chance to win prizes from area businesses.

Other dates this summer are July 20 with the Oxymorons, and August 17 with The Sea Cruisers.

Be sure to bring a lawn chair. Concerts start at 7 p.m. In the case of rain, the concert will be moved to Cedar Springs Middle School.

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Concerts in park kick off summer

Roosevelt Diggs performed at Morley Park last year during concerts in the park.  Post photo by J. Reed.

Roosevelt Diggs performed at Morley Park last year during concerts in the park. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation will kick off their summer series of concerts at Morley Park this Thursday, June 16, with the Oxymorons at 7 p.m.

Now in its 10th year, the concerts put on by Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation and sponsored by area businesses give people a chance to relax with friends and family, while listening to some great music.

There are concessions on site, and free raffle tickets give concert-goers a chance to win prizes from area businesses.

Other dates this summer are July 21 with Mane Street, and August 18 with The Cheap Dates.

Be sure to bring a lawn chair. Concerts start at 7 p.m. and admission is free.

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Concerts in park kick off summer

Roosevelt Diggs performed at Morley Park last Thursday night. Post photo by J. Reed.

Roosevelt Diggs performed at Morley Park last Thursday night. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation kicked off their summer series of concerts at Morley Park last Thursday, June 18, with local band Roosevelt Diggs.

The band’s unique mix of country, folk, bluegrass and blues was a feast for the ears, and it was a beautiful summer evening to sit and relax with friends and family.

There were concessions on site, and free raffle tickets gave concert-goers a chance to win prizes from area businesses.

Check out Roosevelt Diggs on YouTube, or their website rooseveltdigs.com to see where they perform next. Their album “Songs from the Shed” is available on their website or at Amazon.com.

The next concert in the park is July 16 with Don Middlebrook. The Sea Cruisers will perform on August 20. Be sure to bring a lawn chair. Concerts start at 7 p.m.

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Daddy daughter dance a big hit

N-Daddy-daughter-dance1N-Daddy-daughter-dance2It may have been postponed for a month due to inclement weather, but the annual Daddy daughter dance put on by Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation was a night to remember for the nearly 500 people in attendance last Saturday, March 1.

Originally scheduled for February 1, the dance took place at Cedar Springs Middle School, and was open to girls and a special man in their life, whether a dad, grandpa, uncle, brother, or other male figure.

N-Daddy-daughter-dance3They danced to the Cupid Shuffle, the Hokey Pokey, the Chicken Dance, the Macarena and much more.

The girls made necklaces to take home and door prizes were given away. Photos of the dads and daughters were also taken.

Check out videos of the event on YouTube and photos on Google + and the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation Facebook.

If you missed this year’s dance or just want to go back next year, mark your calendars for February 7. Tickets will go on sale December 1.

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Daddy-daughter dance February 1

Buy tickets now—none available at the door


On Saturday, February 1, there will be a night to remember for 200 families. The 10th Annual Daddy Daughter Dance will be put on by the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation Department at Cedar Springs Middle School. This event has grown every year and is one of the most special moments of the year for many young girls in the Cedar Springs area. The dance is for girls of age 3 through the early teen years and the male role model in their lives. We understand that not every young lady has a father in their life, but they have a male that they look up to and that is special to them. That person may be an uncle, grandfather, older brother, or somone else. They can be the one that attends and helps create memories. The dance can be attended by anyone, not just residents of Cedar Springs. It is important that young ladies can have a night of fun and a chance to make memories that will last them a lifetime.

The dance is hosted by a father and daughter DJ service, Diverse Sounds, and has punch and snacks for the attendees as well. The doors will open for the event at 6:30 p.m. at the Cedar Springs Middle School and the dance will kick off at 7 p.m. Included in the ticket price is a craft project for each girl to work on with their date while at the dance, and 5×7 photos that will be taken of each couple and provided after February 14. Noah’s Animal Workshop will be at the dance offering special stuffed animals to commemorate the night for an additional fee.

Tickets are on sale now during daytime office hours at Hilltop (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)  and at the Middle School on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m.  There is only room for 200 families and half of those are already reserved, so do not wait until the last minute. Tickets in advance are $15 for two people, or $20 for three, or $25 for a group of four or more.  There will not be any tickets available at the door.

For more information call 696-7320 or email director@csaparksandrec.com. We are also on Facebook and have a new website www.csaparksandrec.com, with mobile application and text alert options.


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Zumba raises funds for library

ENT-ZumbaOn Saturday, October 12, nine people came out to help raise money for a new Cedar Springs library. Zumba leader Monica Sanders enthusiastically led the group in an extensive workout that left everyone sweating, and with a big smile on their face. The two people who couldn’t make it gave a donation to show their support. The event raised $110 in just an hour! A big thanks to Amanda Gerhardt, Director of the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation, and her board for hosting this event, now in it’s second year.

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Concert in the Park July 18

The Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation Department has put together its seventh annual Concert in the Park Series this summer and wants to invite you  to come and enjoy the music. The next concert is on Thursday, July 18, at 7 p.m., with the group “Great Scott.”

The event is free to the public and will include a free raffle of door prizes during the bands intermission, which have been donated by local businesses. There will also be concessions for sale—cotton candy, sno cones, popcorn, drinks, candy bars and more. The events began in 2006 with one concert and grew in 2007 to holding three concerts.  The Cedar Springs businesses work with the department to offer these events at no charge to the community. “These concerts have grown in size and have become a mainstay summer event for the Cedar Springs area,” said Parks and Rec Director Amanda Gerhardt. “We enjoy watching the community come and relax for an evening.  The hard economic times make it difficult for some families to do activities, so we are thrilled to provide them this opportunity to have some fun,” she added.

An additional concert will be held on August 15 in Morley Park and will feature music for all ages by the group “ Decades.”

Another event that the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation department is sponsoring is a bus trip to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, August 4.  They will be taking on the Chicago White Sox. The bussing will be provided by Compass Coach. Seats for the game are located in the lower section near the first base foul pole. A voucher is included for a hot dog, drink and chips. With the game being on a Sunday, kids can ride the ferris wheel and carousel for free, and run the bases after the game. This will be a fun event for all ages. Tickets are $85 and forms are available online and at CS Public Schools District Office.

For more information on this program or others, please call 696-7320 Monday-Wednesday or email director@csaparksandrec.com anytime. There is also a Facebook page to stay aprised of programs and information, just search for “Cedar Springs Area Parks & Recreation.”


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Concert tonight at Morley Park


The summer concert series in Cedar Springs returns tonight, Thursday, June 20, at 7 p.m., for its seventh season. The series will be held in Morley Park on the third Thursday of June, July and August. Tonight’s entertainment will be The JetBeats, a new 4-member rock and roll combo from Grand Rapids.
Their bio says “the group’s mission is to bring back the excitement from the high energy live shows of the early 60’s Beat Music era, as well as British Invasion classics and a healthy dose of American rockabilly and rhythm & blues.” See more at www.reverbnation.com/TheJetbeats.

Great Scott will be featured on July 18, and Decades on August 15.

These concerts, organized by Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation, are sponsored by local groups and businesses and will be free to the public. Door prizes will be given away during the band breaks, and concessions will be available for purchase. So bring your chairs and enjoy some snacks and entertainment with your Cedar Springs area neighbors! All concerts 7-9 p.m. In the event of bad weather, they will be moved to Cedar Springs Middle School if it’s available.


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