December 16, 2013
Dear Friend of the Spring Lake Community House,
In the Beginning: July 4, 1923
Ninety years later, on July 4, 2013, the Spring Lake Community House (SLCH) celebrated its 90th birthday with a celebration open to all its friends. On a beautiful summer day more than 350 people filled the grounds and the building enjoying the exhibits, games, food and performances by the talented SLCH dancers and singers. Mayor Naughton expressed the feelings of many when she called the SLCH one of the “treasures” of Spring Lake, enhancing the quality of life for the entire Jersey Shore.
Groundbreaking by Oliver H. Brown. The building was formally dedicated on July 4, 1923.
Improving the House that Brown Built:
The Handicap Access Program and Starlight Gala
For many years handicap access to the Spring Lake Library and the SLCH theatre and classrooms has been a highly desired improvement. Cost was always the obstacle since access ramps had to compliment the historical and aesthetic nature of the building. As you may know, the SLCH is privately funded, receiving no support from Spring Lake or other state or Federal agencies.
This spring, the SLCH board approved this project as a 90th birthday “present” and over the summer a raised terrace, an elaborate series of ramps, stately brick paving and pillars with tasteful lighting and beautiful landscaping, transformed the Third Avenue entrances to the Library and the SLCH. Most important, it looked as if it had been there since 1923. In addition, a full sized handicap bathroom was constructed for theatre patrons.
On September 20, the first Starlight Gala celebrated the completion of this project by honoring Spring Lake businessman and philanthropist, Jules L. Plangere, Jr. More than 250 people attended a reception held in the remodeled area followed by a buffet dinner with 15 food stations supplied by local restaurants and merchants. Musical highlights from past shows in the theatre preceded dancing that extended well into the night.
“Paying the Piper:”
Off to a Good Start
In order to start the handicap access project, the SLCH borrowed from its modest portfolio and subsequently it obtained a $100,000 line of credit from Wells Fargo bank. We plan to raise a total of $200,000 in 2013 and 2014 to fund the project and repay the line of credit and the portfolio.
We are off to a good start. Our first letter in June, announcing the project, generated $68,000 in support, almost twice as much as any first letter of previous years. The Gala raised an additional $40,000 so we are over half way there. We ask for your help in raising the balance. All gifts made during these two years will be recorded in a “Friends of the SLCH” book maintained on permanent display in the Oliver Brown Room. Major donors of $500 or more over the two year period will be memorialized on a bronze plaque installed near the handicap access area.
A Successful Year All ‘Round
Despite the problems Sandy left many of us, the SLCH enjoyed a successful year. Community groups met almost daily in one of our rooms. The theatre enjoyed successful performances of A Chorus Line, Peter Pan, and Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. The ever popular Scrooge begins performances on December 6. Early reservations are advised. The Odd Couple and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will complete this season in early 2014 Dance classes were filled to capacity (340 young people), and workshops in voice, acting and diction were oversubscribed.
Check the SLCH website regularly (www.www.springlaketheatre.com) to keep up to date on our various programs and activities. You may also “Friend” the SLCH on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @sltcompany for last minute details and information.
A Season for Reflection
As we enter this holiday season, we can reflect on how many of the challenges we faced at this time last year have not only been overcome, but also improvements like handicap access have been completed successfully. We are grateful for your support in helping the SLCH make a contribution to overcoming these challenges and restoring the Shore. We look forward to continuing to enhance the quality of life throughout our area in 2014 with your continued support.
For the The Spring Lake Community House & Theatre Board of Trustees,
John Gontkof, III
Robert G. McKelvey
Joseph C. Rizzo
To download the donation card, please click here.