Update on Wonder Lake Community Technology Center

An update has arrived about the Wonder Lake Community Technology Center, behind which Jeff Gerhardt is the driving force. I thought you might be interested. It follows:


The Wonder Lake Community Development Council (WLCDC) has some great news about the Wonder Lake Community Technology Center (WLCTC).
For those of you not aware of what a “CTC” does, well it is half community center and half tech center. It is NOT a cyber cafe, although we will have coffee available and plenty of computers to access the Internet. It is a community center that will offer daily programs for the people of Wonder Lake. Some of the programs will be technology (or science) focused and many will not.

After extensive demolition of the old electrical and plumbing systems in our new facility in Wonder Lake (the old Das Bierhause), we have a clear picture of improvements required to open the center. We have been working with an architect (sponsored by our friends at NRB developers by the way) over the last few weeks to develop the construction plan.

Our goal is to have part of the building open, including at least one computer lab, by the 4th of July weekend. The rest of the main building will be ready during August. The part of the building that will be used as a small library should be open some time in September.

We have also been working with a group called The Foundation Group (TFG) to secure our 501c3 documents. This is the leading specialty legal consultant in the entire US for creating 501c3’s. This is a key step for us to do meticulously correct as the rules have been changing for “charitable” organizations. Many organizations are not getting approved as 501c3 and many that exist are losing their status as the laws evolve.

At present they (TFG) are telling us that getting our certification is a slam dunk and 100% assured. This is simply because we are following the letter of the law for the creation for an organization that is classified as a Community Development Council or CDC. We are having a meeting with TFG in mid May to try to refine the time line. As an FYI we are already approved by the State of Illinois as a non profit organization but we are yet to be certified by the IRS.

As we will be getting construction documents some time in the next week or two, we will probably be getting permits and begin construction of the facility even before the final 501c3 documents will be in hand. We really want to make that July 4th deadline so that people who come into Wonder Center for the parade can stop in and visit. The sooner we start, the sooner we can be open to offer senior and youth services to the community.

Some of the Senior Services include:

1- A daily “TABLE OF KNOWLEDGE” gathering spot to allow seniors a place to gather and swap the stories of their life.
2- Twice a week we will have “Silver Screenings”, movies from the silent era through the Golden Age of the MGM Musicals. Each screening will be followed with a discussion about the movie as a part of art and history, as well as anecdotes about where people were in their lives when the movie was released.
3- Senior Income Tax support
4- Flu Shot programs
5- Political Candidate Forums- find out which of the local representatives supports seniors.

Some of the Youth Services will include:

1- After School Homework Club
2- UGLI Club: learning computer skills through Video Game play and game programming 3- Eco-Extreme Club: Extreme Sports meets Science
4- TEAM CHALLENGER: Robotics Team

Attached is a single page flyer that we have just started to pass out, asking for donations from the community.

We understand that with gas quickly pushing towards $4.00 a gallon, this summer is going to one of belt tightening in Wonder Lake. We recognize that asking for donations during this year will not be an easy thing to do. As the father of a teenage girl with a gang of girlfriends I am not looking forward to the gas bill this summer. As a person who has worked for Non-profits the last several years, this is doubly painful.

For those of you who have never attempted such an undertaking as building a Community Center, it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a community center, much less a Community Technology Center. It also takes a couple hundred thousand dollars each year to keep the doors open every morning for our seniors and every afternoon/evening for our youth. But, we all know haw badly we need these services in our community, especially for our teens. There simply is not enough constructive activities available for our youth. It is a daunting task, more so because of the need.

We are accomplishing a sizable percentage of the task of keeping the doors of the center open by creating partnerships with organizations in the county to do training and partner on job creation projects. These partnerships have been in development for well over a year. Not only do they help achieve a needed goal in the county, but those people that live in Wonder Lake that need this kind of career training may be able to qualify to get this training free of cost.

There will be plenty of computers available for use by people in the community, connected to high speed internet of course, spaces for classes and place for just hanging out and reading a book.

To get it all done, we have created a solid financial plan. But a part of that plan is some contributions from the community. This fall, we hope to have our first annual Septemberfest Celebration as one step in the fundraising plan, but for the short term we really do need community contributions.

In addition to the attached flyer, which has many “in-kind” donations listed, the following are a few of the task specific funds we are setting up toward which you can help via cash donations:

The Youth VISTA Fund: We are looking to raise $12,000 to hire a Americorp VISTA to work with youth for the 2008/2009 school year.

The Adult VISTA Fund: we are looking to raise $12,000 to hire a Americorp VISTA to coordinate Adults and Senior Services for the 2009 calendar year.

The Building Fund: We are looking to raise $90,000 to cover the cost of building rehab and improvement projects we have planned through the 2009 calendar year

The TOONER Fund: We are looking to raise $8,000 to purchase and outfit a used pontoon boat to act as a dual purpose craft. The “USS TOONER” will be used as a traveling concession stand or floating ice crème truck if you prefer. It will also be used in the future as a ferry, once the planning and zoning commission plan is approved to run ferry service between the West Bay beach and Wonder Center. The funds raised will be used to help provide some (small income) for area non-profits. The project will also provide jobs for seniors or teens.

We are still waiting for the 501c3 document and so we know many of you will not be comfortable making a donation until we have that document. We do understand that. But we are asking those not comfortable to at least make pledges toward our cause. Please consider our cause and the effort that has already been undertaken.

There is a donation form attached.

There is also a information meeting that will be held at the Marquise Banquet Facility 4117 E Wonder Lake Rd, Wonder Lake, IL on Thursday May 29th 2008 from 7:00pm until 8:30pm. This meeting will not only discuss the programs of the Tech Center, but will also discuss some of the projects that the CDC as a development council is going to address during the next year, including creating a library district for Wonder Lake.


Jeff Gerhardt

Also attached was this flyer.


Update on Wonder Lake Community Technology Center — 1 Comment

  1. Do you have contact information for Jeff? None was provided on the flyers, and unfortunately I’ll be out of the country during the information session.

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