Friends of Lake Panorama Making a Difference
By Susan Thompson
Friends of Lake Panorama is a nonprofit charity dedicated to supporting recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. The charity is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and is governed by a volunteer, seven-member board of directors. In this month’s Q&A, Jan Reinicke, current Friends president, talks about completed projects, current priorities and future goals.
Q. You’re one of three board members who have been with the charity since its inception. You recently agreed to a second three-year board term, and were elected board president for this year. Why did you agree to serve on the Friends board?
A. It presented an exciting opportunity to contribute to the quality of life at Lake Panorama. My husband Lynn and I are longtime weekend residents at the lake, having bought our place in 1984. Since then, we have enjoyed so many good times with family and friends here. It was time to give something back to a place that has a special spot in our lives.
My background is in Association work and I have always viewed belonging to an organization as an opportunity to engage with others to get things done. My work with the Friends group so far tells me there are a lot of people at Lake Panorama who are ready and willing to commit time and energy to support worthwhile projects.
Q. Tell us about the timeline of events since the Friends board’s first meeting.
A. The first meeting of the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors was December 3, 2013. An application for nonprofit status was filed with the IRS in January 2014, and approved in July 2014. Fundraising began in October 2014 with two priority projects – a new playground at Sunset Beach and renovated sports courts at Lake Panorama National.
This past May, we completed a successful $80,000 fundraising campaign to build the Sunset Beach playground. The LPA provided an additional $50,000. We’re happy to see so many children and their families enjoying this great new addition to our community.
Our early efforts to raise money for renovating the LPN tennis courts attracted some donors, but the project didn’t generate enough interest to be viable. With the playground complete, we’ve made new sports courts at Boulder Beach our latest priority.
Q. What impact do you think the successful completion of that first priority project - the Sunset Beach playground - has had on both the Lake Panorama community and Friends of Lake Panorama?
A. I believe Friends of Lake Panorama has given our lake community an opportunity to see the potential of what can be done working together. The impetus and passion for the playground at Sunset Beach certainly came from people who lived in the surrounding area, but was supported and is now being enjoyed by all. It was a perfect first project because of all the initial support and excitement we had for getting it completed.
At first, board members were unsure if we could raise sufficient funds, but we were gratified by all the people who stepped forward to help make it a reality. There is a saying “success breeds success.” That is certainly the case here. It has made us realize there are many at Lake Panorama who are ready to contribute to additional projects our community members view as priorities. It certainly gave us the confidence to move ahead with the sports courts project this year.
Q. Tell us about plans for the sports courts.
A. The goal of our Friends board is to have the new sports courts installed in 2017. The project got an early boost when the LPA board voted last October to commit at least $50,000, once Friends raises $50,000. The $7,500 from donors to the first LPN sports court proposal provided seed money for this project. So far, Friends has raised $27,000, so we’re more than halfway to our first fundraising goal of $50,000. Also, our campaign led to an anonymous donor pledging $25,000 for a separate court dedicated to basketball, once the initial $100,000 level is reached.
The main sports court structure will be a concrete slab featuring two regulation-sized tennis courts. A PowerGame two-tiered surface will be placed over the concrete base, and be painted with both tennis and pickle ball lines. This modular flooring features a locking system. The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue. These courts will be surrounded by a 10’ tall chain link, black vinyl fence. There will be one gate, two nets and support poles. This project is estimated at $125,000.
The basketball court will be slightly smaller than regulation size at 50’ 5” x 78’ 8”. The concrete will be marked for two half courts, with two basketball hoop systems installed. The $25,000 estimated price tag for the basketball court does not include fencing or the PowerGame surface.
Q. Last year, the first annual Beach Ball helped Friends top off fundraising for the Sunset Beach playground, and now it’s hoped the second Beach Ball will do the same for the sports courts. Give me details of the May 6 event.
A. Last year's Beach Ball participants were enthusiastic about their experience. It was first and foremost a fun evening. It brought together a real cross-section of Lake Panorama and area residents. Guests had an opportunity to enjoy the decorating talents of their hosts as each table displayed a unique theme. People willingly supported the fundraising through a variety of options — silent auction, live auction, raffle, wine pull and more. We had so many people tell us they’d like to be involved if we did it again, we decided another fun evening was in order this spring.
Friends board members are counting on another group of great people to enjoy this year’s event, with all funds raised supporting the sports courts at Boulder Beach. It's another opportunity to bring people together for a good time but also for a common purpose.
A volunteer committee is finalizing plans for the Beach Ball, and we’ll have some fun new ways to raise money at this year’s event. We’re currently recruiting table sponsors and guests, plus donated items for a raffle and both silent and live auctions. Anyone interested in participating in any way can call Susan Thompson at 515-240-6536 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Besides these two priority projects, what else has Friends been involved in so far?
A new granite bench honoring Joe Scheiring was made possible by donors who contributed a total of $2,500 to Friends of Lake Panorama. The bench was installed in August 2015 at the Panorama West golf course. Scheiring passed away August 8, 2014. He was well known as the organizer of the Fourth of July fireworks that originate at Shady Beach. He also was well known for his love of golf, so a bench on the #7 hole at Panorama West is a fitting tribute.
In September 2015, two new signs featuring the Panorama West Golf Course and Clubhouse logo were added at the parking lot entrance, with one facing north and the other facing south. Two new signs also were placed over east entrances at the LPN Conference Center.
Now we’re working on two smaller projects, in addition to the Boulder Beach sports courts. We’ll be installing a rain garden near the Panorama West clubhouse June 10, and we’re researching ways to improve timber paths near that clubhouse. These paths have been used for many years for cross country meets, and we hope to also find ways to make these beautiful trails more accessible for casual recreation.
Q. What kind of impact do you think Friends of Lake Panorama has had so far on the Lake Panorama community, and what does the future hold?
A. Friends of Lake Panorama is the perfect opportunity to forge a strong partnership with the Lake Panorama Association to improve the recreational opportunities here at the lake. Working together, we have the potential to really improve the quality of life for current and future residents. While the LPA’s focus, out of necessity, needs to be on safety, security and infrastructure needs, Friends of Lake Panorama can be a catalyst and support group focusing on the amenities our community members desire.
Our working relationship with the LPA is strong, as their board stepped forward to provide matching funds for the Sunset Beach playground, and has pledged matching funds for the sports courts project. The LPA also contributed labor and some materials for the playground and will do the same with the sports courts. I think this is an excellent model as we move forward and identify additional projects.
Q. What do you think the future holds for Friends of Lake Panorama?
A. The future gives us an opportunity to further engage community members. Our first two projects were the result of some long term desires to see a playground at Sunset Beach and improved sports courts. To keep our momentum moving forward, we will need to develop a more formalized process for seeking valuable input on establishing priorities. We look forward to working with LPA members to get that done.
For more information, visit the Friends’ website: www.friendsoflakepanorama.org