By Sue Moore
The Vicksburg Foundation has stepped forward with a huge donation of $170,000 toward the Vision Campaign, said Kathleen Hoyle, Downtown Development Authority (DDA) director. The challenge will be to match the $170,000 in order to receive the grant, she added. This goes along with the matching opportunities the campaign is sponsoring through the state of Michigan’s Economic Development site.
“The foundation has helped to fund big and small projects in the south county area,” Hoyle said. “This would be one of their most generous donations to beautify the village of Vicksburg. We are extremely grateful for their challenge to the community and believe we can maximize their dollars to the fullest.”
The pavilion on N. Richardson Street received nearly $200,000 from the foundation. Much of it was matched by the community through the efforts of the Vicksburg Historical Society because of Margaret Kerchief and Kristina Powers Aubry’s work to raise the matching dollars, according to Bill Oswalt, Vicksburg Foundation president.
“We are happy to be able to see the next step in community development that the DDA has planned. We participated in the streetscape work that was done in the 1980s and realize it is time to upgrade and make the pedestrian walkways more accessible. The village should have a facelift, to keep up with the times,” Oswalt said. “The foundation has provided over $2 million to the Vicksburg and Schoolcraft communities in the last decade. We are pleased to be a part of this major effort to be a change agent for the village. We hope that the response will be as great as it was for the pavilion and the many other projects the foundation has supported.”
Hoyle has been assisted by the chairpersons of the campaign, Ted Vliek and Kristina Powers Aubry. They in turn have called on Ron Smith, chair of the family division; Bill Adams, chair of the foundation division; Steve McCowen, special gifts division; Steve Goss, vendor division; and Donna Cratsenburg-Scot, chair of the community division.
“The most important thing we need to do is show the community some visible progress and we think the donations will come in,” Hoyle said. “Our goal is to begin construction on the trailhead in March and Liberty Lane as early as April, weather permitting. We will utilize the funds raised on the crowdfunding site to the fullest. There are no grants available for parking lot improvements, but they are very high on our list. We will use the cash we raise through the matching foundation funds to show progress in this high-priority fix.”