Lenawee Community Foundation Recently Announced a Pledge for a New Community Center at John W. Smith Park in Tecumseh
The Lenawee Community Foundation recently announced their pledge of up to $2,000,000 toward the cost for construction of a new community center for the City of Tecumseh. The anticipated site for the construction will be at the 30 acre John W. Smith Park located on North Evans Street. The facility will be named after Andrew J. Smith, who donated the property where the community center will be located. Known by his family and friends as “AJ”, he lived his entire life at the property which had been the family dairy farm. A Tecumseh High School and University of Michigan graduate, Smith was an architect whose firm, Smith and Gardner, designed The Burroughs World Headquarters in Detroit, among other projects. A navy pilot in World War II, he became the four time National Soaring Champion and the World Soaring Champion in 1963. A plane that he designed, built and flew, the AJ-2, won the Oshkosh 500 race six times. Smith called Tecumseh home until his death in 2004. AJ who was a very modest man, would be humbled to have the facility named after himself, in the park named after his father John.
“The Lenawee Community Foundation is pleased to be the motivating force behind this great project. We are grateful that our generous donor family has made it possible. The cooperation by the City of Tecumseh has been outstanding.”
- David Hickman, Lenawee Community Foundation Board Chair
For the past five years the Community Foundation’s Tecumseh Grants Committee, led by chairperson Charles H. Gross, has worked diligently to set the groundwork for the creation of a facility to benefit the entire community. This new facility will provide physical fitness & athletic programs and activities for all ages, as well as encompass positive after school opportunities for local youth. The programs will be coordinated by the City of Tecumseh Parks and Recreation Department, which will move its offices to the new facility.
“The City of Tecumseh is honored to be the recipient of this pledge by the Lenawee Community Foundation. We are very excited to have such a wonderful facility which will enhance the lives of the members of our community.”
- Dick Johnson, Mayor City of Tecumseh
The new building will include a central meeting space and two multi-use facilities to be used for indoor sports activities and other indoor events. Meeting space will be available to rent by businesses for use to accommodate meetings, seminars and workshops. The space can also be rented by individuals for smaller personal events, such as showers or parties. The new facility will be easily accessible for all individuals and include ample parking to accommodate patrons.
The Tecumseh City Council gratefully accepted the grant from the Lenawee Community Foundation on January 16, 2012. As part of the grant requirements, the City of Tecumseh will be responsible for all site work to support the construction of the new facility. The building design has been created by The Adrian Design Group. Krieghoff-Lenawee will be the general contractor. Subject to City Council approval, the Community Center project could begin as early as the spring of 2012 with completion in early 2013.
The fund being used to support this project was originally created through the generosity of the Ruth V. & Anne Thompson Trusts. Their husband and father, John Thompson, was President of United Savings Bank of Tecumseh when he retired in 1962. Merlyn Downing was instrumental in the family’s estate planning that directed Tecumseh as the ultimate beneficiary. It has long been the goal of the Lenawee Community Foundation to provide services to enrich the lives of the local community. The new community center facility will make a lasting impact in the local community for future generations to enjoy forever.