To my Four Lakes neighbors –
I know many of you were devastated by the dam failures and resulting floods that took place on May 19th. Many of us lost our homes or we have to rebuild, and all of us lost an important part of our lives. Our businesses and livelihoods were threatened, and now what once were beautiful lakes are barren fields and a winding river. While the flood may have washed away so much from our lives, what was not lost in its waters was our hope and our resiliency.
Smallwood, Secord, Wixom, and Sanford Lakes have been environmental and recreational gems for the region for nearly a century. More than 6,000 homeowners own property on the lakes. These lakes were once great recreational and fishery sources in our state.
We must recover and bring the lakes back. It will take a lot of work, by a lot of people working “shoulder to shoulder,” and there are hurdles we have to overcome, but this is our goal. The Four Lakes Task Force is here to help the community make sure this happens.
We need the engagement of our community to help fund the critical work that must start immediately, such as controlling erosion, stabilizing the dams, and acquiring the properties. We also need to quickly start to plan for rebuilding the dams. We are working with federal, state, and private funding sources who we hope will help carry some of the financial burden, but it is not enough. It has to start with us!
While we have the authority to assess lake owners for funds, we felt this would be unfair right now to those who are not yet back on their feet. So, we are appealing to each of you who can help us financially. We have started a fundraising effort to help pay for these costs, so we can get started while we work through the acquisition and regulatory processes. Our goal is to collect at least $1 million through individual donations this year, with a total goal of $2 million over the next 3 years. We will be looking for other private and public funds to fill the rest of our needs.
If you are experiencing financial hardships of your own, we know this is not the time to give. However, if you can, please donate today to help stabilize and rebuild the dams and bring our lakes back. You can make a donation at the form above or by sending a check to Four Lakes Task Force, 233 Larkin Street Suite 2, Midland, MI 48640 with the memo, “Donation.”
I believe in this cause and in our community, which is why the Patricia and David Kepler Foundation has committed additional funds to match dollar-for-dollar individual contributions up to $5,000 until we reach $200,000. This means your donation has twice the value and impact.
Thank you for your support and thank you for helping the Four Lakes Task Force. I encourage you to share this website and letter with the people in your community so we can accelerate our progress.
President, Four Lakes Task Force
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