January 11, 2017
Dear Friends of HOBS,
The 2016 year represented another step forward for the Historic Ottawa Beach Society (HOBS). HOBS introduced some new exhibits for visitors to enjoy with in the pump house in 2016. Along with the historical postcards that were previously illustrated, exhibits regarding “The Deming Pump”, “Water at Ottawa Beach” and our main exhibit, “Icebound, the Ordeal of the SS Michigan” were featured. The pump house was open during the months of June, July, August and September in 2016 with HOBS hosting two (2) special events (Icebound and Jenison Electric Park) at no admission cost for residents and summer visitors. At the Icebound event, which featured a reenactment of the 1885 sinking, attendance was overwhelming as we received – 130 visitors. Many of the visitors were first time visitors of the area. Utilizing a logbook this past summer in an attempt to register visitors and residents, the log conservatively captured 372 visitors which included 116 local Park Township residents (31%). Based on the attendance demonstrated this past summer, it is believed the investment into this building located in Park Township will only enhance the experience for visitors and residents in the future.
The ultimate goal for our group and this building continues to be the establishment of a working museum and learning center. The museum’s mission would be to preserve area history, present educational programs, promote good stewardship practices and enrich the area experience for residents and visitors alike.
When the initial building restoration effort ended in May 2015 additional work still remained. Along with the installation of permanent public restrooms (now planned for 2017), a finished floor (hardwood, brick pavers , glass floor over the trench area) and under-floor electrical was needed. The initial restoration effort had provided a concrete sub-floor along with temporary wooden ramps. HOBS requested and received approval from Park Township to provide $30,000 from their Community Services Program to help fund this floor in 2016. The remaining amount of budget would be provided through Ottawa County Parks and Recreation (OCPR) funding and/or contributions through HOBS.
Work began on the floor after the operating season (June – September) in October. To date masonry work in the trench (needed for glass floor portion), the floor framing and a beautiful hardwood floor have been completed. The remaining work which includes the brick pavers, glass floor over the trench and electrical work is expected to be completed by May 2017.
Along with an update, this letter also serves as a request for our annual dues. HOBS continues to incur annual ongoing costs and expenses including accounting fees, website development and maintenance costs, and preparation and printing of fund raising materials and brochures. It is for these expenses that HOBS annual membership dues are utilized. We hope you will renew your membership to HOBS. Find attached a Membership Form for 2017.
As discussed above progress continues on the restoration of the pump house building and the establishment of a working museum and learning center. Funds for the pump house and the development of future exhibits are needed. The Historic Ottawa Beach Society is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization. Donations to Pump House Museum project are tax deductible. Find attached a Pump House Contributor Form.
For those who have previously contributed to the Pump House Museum and Learning Center capital campaign and/or have become an annual member, we thank you so much.
If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to contact me.
Stephen J. Engers
Historic Ottawa Beach Society – President