K.I. SAWYER - Forsyth Township has re-opened the community center at K.I. Sawyer, giving youth a place for daytime, weekday activities - with plans to expand events to other age groups in the near future.
Facing $400,000 in debt, the Salvation Army of Marquette closed its operation at K.I. Sawyer last summer, which was housed in the community center building. Struggling to pay utility bills and cover operational fees and other costs, the Salvation Army closure was saved the organization about $80,000.
Since that time, the building has not been in use. The community center opened June 16.
The K.I. Sawyer Community Center is shown. The center, which used to be run by the Salvation Army, has re-opened to the public. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"It's a place for the kids to come during the day to give them something to do with a little supervision," said Sadie Sirois, a Central Michigan University student hired by the township to work as the center's director for the summer.
Activities include foosball, pool and basketball in the gymnasium. Gwinn Public Schools provides a free lunch at noon. The center is open from 11 a.m. to 4 pm. weekdays.
Sirois said plans are being worked on to open up the facility to a wider range of activities during evenings including open gym, senior citizen nights, card playing tournaments and fish fry dinners.
"We want to put as much use to this building that we can," Sirois said. "We want to open it up to the community and keep it going. We're working on it."
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.