‘W’ $100,000 Fundraising Push

The former West Branch Community and Fitness Center closed two years ago, and now, time is running out to re–open the doors.

Community Hand–UP has raised $20,000 in cash over the last year and a half.

But that’s nowhere near enough to buy the facility from West Branch Township.

The group intends to raise $100,000 within the next couple of weeks — an amount which may be enough, and even if it isn’t, should be enough to partner with some other potential buyer to make the purchase.

Lisa Johnson of Community Hand-UP says she is challenging 100 local businesses and individuals to donate $1,000 and also challenging others who can’t afford that sum to make a $100 donation.

The ‘W’ is due to be sold at auction on May 21st.

Aryel Headley used to use the ‘W’ five days a week for several years.

She used her time in aquatic therapy at the ‘W’ to overcome osteoporosis and helped others do the same.

Headley recently saw what’s become of the place, and she says it’s a sad sight when she remembers how vibrant it was before it closed.

Former ‘W’ director Bill Hill says a re-opened ‘W’ would mean added pride and a renewed sense of place among many nearby residents.

Community hand–UP is hosting a ‘W’ fundraiser at Upfront and Company in Marquette two weeks from tonight.

The suggested donation is $20 dollars at the door.

The Forsyth Township Board is also expected to take up some issues related to the ‘W’ at its next meeting.

That one is this Thursday at 6pm at the Gwinn Clubhouse.