Donation to the Eagle River Recreation Association (Dome)

From the Vilas County News-Review:

The “Save the Dome” capital campaign to raise funds to replace the failing artificial ice plant, concrete, and piping in the historic Eagle River Sports Arena got a big boost when the Eagle River Rotary Club donated $50,000 to the fundraiser Monday.

It is the largest donation to date for the Eagle River Recreation Association (ERRA) project estimated at $1.5 million. The campaign kicked off the last week of December.

Jerry Burkett of the ERRA board, who is leading the campaign, was ecstatic when he received the check from Rotary President Robin Ginner and club board member Martha Geiseman.

“It was manna from heaven,” said Burkett about hearing the Rotary was giving the ERRA $50,000 for the project. “It’s important because this project is going to happen and now it’s starting to take off.

“This is small-town Eagle River taking care of its own. This is just so wonderful,” said Burkett. “I thank the Rotary from the bottom of my heart.”

Ginner said it was an easy decision for the Rotary Club members to support the ERRA project.

“The Dome, it just doesn’t benefit one group. It benefits the entire community,” said Ginner. “People that come in for the hockey tournaments that go on here and the public programing like the figure skating and the different events that go on here. It really benefits the entire community, not just one small group.”

Ginner said Burkett made a presentation on the importance of the project to the Rotary Club members two weeks ago.

“Luckily, we had a board meeting today (Monday) and we felt it was important enough for our next really big project, so we were able to move on it,” said Ginner. “It got passed by the board and then by our club as a whole today at lunch time and here we are a couple hours later giving them a check.”

Ginner said the Rotary Club, which has supported other community projects including Silver Lake Beach, the historic railroad depot, and landscaping, and restrooms at Riverview Park, may be able to gain even more funds for the ERRA.

“We are going to be submitting a grant application for a district grant, so our hope is to increase this by another $7,500, but we will find out more about that this spring,” she said.

The Rotary’s largest fundraisers are the annual Wine and Cheese Tasting in July and the Antique Show in August. Rotary members also man the food booths at Northwoods Beer Fest in June, the Muskie Alliance Tournament in August and Cranberry Fest in October.

The Rotary Club also donated $25,000 to the Olson Memorial Library building project in Eagle River and $15,000 to the Demmer Memorial Library project in Three Lakes, as well as giving tens of thousands of dollars to bike trail development in the area.

Burkett said Monday it’s the largest donation so far and he is hoping it will trigger more in the next month or two.

“We have verbal commitments from many entities that haven’t come in yet, but this is the largest by far,” said Burkett.