CLA holds meeting to form support group for lake area|
Thursday, January 17, 2013
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
CURWENSVILLE - Although attendance numbers were small, Curwensville Lake Authority members said they were pleased to have interested individuals present at last night's meeting to build a support group for Curwensville Lake Recreation Area.
The authority sponsored the meeting at Curwensville Community Center in hopes of creating a charitable group which would apply for a 510(c)3 designation to allow private groups and foundations to donate tax-exempt grants and funds for improvements and projects at the lake. Support group members would also provide input on proposed projects and developments to enhance and preserve the lake.
To prepare for last night's meeting the authority sent letters to people who were present at public meetings held approximately two years ago for the lake property's comprehensive plan.
Those people indicated, at that time, they would be interested in joining a support organization, according to authority members. The meeting was also advertised to the general public in The Progress.
Jim Kling, authority chairman, told the group the authority is not permitted to apply for the nonprofit federal designation and in talking with people he has been told many organizations and businesses would be willing to contribute funds if they would write the donation off on their taxes.
Susan Reed, authority member, noted the all volunteer- member authority is charged with the daily operations at the lake and found it was so busy with those tasks "it doesn't have time for any fun stuff" and that is another reason why a support group is needed.
Kling said the group could be as large or as small as it wants but to apply for nonprofit status it is required to elect officers, develop written by-laws and hold meetings.
He also expressed pleasure that those represented last night all had different areas of interest. Those included the lake property's trails, its bird population, fishing and boating.
The lake's newly created comprehensive plan contains many possible projects some with those same themes, he said. The plan was developed with participation by many county residents both through individual interviews, public surveys and input given at two public meetings.
Kling said the authority has, guided by the comprehensive plan, begun work on two of those projects. Preliminary measures to add a dog park, build a softball field and add rental cabins at the lake have gotten under way. Kling said, work is in the beginning stages and the authority is hoping for input from the support group.
"If we can get the dog park and possibly a softball field finished, we will be on our way. Hopefully that will build enthusiasm and encourage others with additional interests. There is lots of room at the lake to grow," he explained.
Aaron Evans, authority member, said he hopes once a project or two is done more people would be motivated and want to join the group.
He provided an example from 2012 when people joined together with the state Fish and Boat Commission members to build fish habitat structures that were sunk in the lake. He said about 30 volunteers attended and what the PFBC said normally takes all day was done in three to four hours.
Since that project was done local sportsmen's groups and those interested in improving fishing at the lake were so enthused they want to do another fish habitat project.
Evans said the authority is in talks with PFBC to select a date to build and sink more fish habitats.
Kling said although the authority sponsored last night's meeting, once the support group is up and running the authority will not be managing the group. "We will step back. We will support you but you will be a separate entity,"
Those attending set a date for a second meeting. The session will be held Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Curwensville Community Center. Anyone interested in joining the group is encouraged to attend.