Since Greenfield Patch launched in December 2010, perhaps no project has been more inspiring than the .
No other building has been a more clear-cut example of what good can happen when good people put their heads – and resources – together.
When Ted Balistreri, owner of Sendik’s Food Market, to Parks and Recreation Department director Scott Jaquish and the city in January 2011, it marked the last major donation needed for the city to renovate its old library.
Construction began in February, , and since then Jaquish and his staff have worked diligently to without passing the buck onto taxpayers.
On Friday, nearly 100 people responsible for the Community Center gathered for an appreciation social, where the building’s successes and the donors who made it happen, were celebrated.
“I’m proud of everybody that is here this evening that has dedicated so much to this,” Mayor Michael Neitzke said. “This is something to be proud of. … To be able to pull something like this off, this is pretty darn impressive.”
Members of the Park and Recreation Board, city officials, donors, Park and Rec staff and many others reflected on the Community Center’s first year, during which Jaquish said there have been 128 outside rentals that have served nearly 8,800 people.
And that’s just one level of service the building has brought to the community. Jaquish estimated between 150-200 people occupy the building every day through Park and Recreation Department classes and offerings.
Usage, rentals and the number of people who enjoy the facility could see a bump as well with the recent addition of the Bill Radler Terrace, , a Greenfield resident known for inventing the knock-out rose.
Radler, whose home was part of the , presented Neitzke and Jaquish a check for $90,000 to cover the cost of the terrace, which was completed earlier this summer.
And while Balisteri’s and Radler’s donations were among the biggest the Center received, and that of Dan Jansen Fest Inc. — a whopping $150,000 — was the biggest of all, more than 200 donors made contributions that helped a dream become a reality.
“Do you remember when the library moved out?,” Neitzke said. “Do you remember there was talk about selling it, boarding it up, tearing it down? Do you remember there was a lot of pessimism?
“But there was another group of people, fortunately, that had a lot of optimism, people with a vision. … They saw the potential, that this was an opportunity to make the city a better place with a place that could be enjoyed by city residents.”