Friends pick us up when we fall down, and if they can’t pick us up, they lie down and
listen for a while.“       -Author Unknown
 
 
 
Hello Rotarians! One of the most rewarding things about being a Rotarian is the friendships that we make.   During these unusual times, it’s a challenge to stay connected with co-workers, friends, our extended families, our places of worship, and our broader community… and with your friends at Rotary.
 
So far, we’ve done our best to provide opportunities to stay connected.  Here’s a brief update on what’s been happening.
 
 
 
 
 
Our Second Virtual Meeting…With Keynote Speakers Tom Bernabei and Donn Angus.   Last Friday marked our second full club virtual meeting.  We had about 37 members who attended this meeting, using the Zoom video software app. We were able to bring in Mayor Tom Bernabei and Chief City Planner Donn Angus from the City of Canton, who spoke from the mayor’s conference room.  These two leaders provided an update on the amazing Centennial Plaza Project, currently under construction in downtown Canton.
 
Construction on this important project has continued on during the pandemic and is expected to be completed by August. The presentation showed us a time-lapse video of how work has progressed and highlighted several of the amazing features of this park, including: two performance stages, a giant LED screen, a pavilion, a food and drink court, a children’s area, a large LED screen, and kiosks featuring all NFL players during the league’s first 100 years.  The total cost of construction of this transformative project will be approximately $12.3 million!
 
You might remember that this project was “kick-started” by a $100,000 grant to the city by the Rotary Club of Canton, to commemorate our 100th anniversary.  This donation will be acknowledged by having our Rotary Club Logo prominently displayed on the Donor Wall, located at the southwest corner of the plaza. It will look much like this: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ROTARY CLUB OF CANTON
 
This performance area originated from a gift of the Rotary Club
of Canton in celebration of its more than 100 years of active
leadership in the community.  It is presented to the City of
Canton, its citizens and visitors as a demonstration of the Club's 
mission of "Service Above Self".
 
 
There have been several Rotarians who have worked to ensure that our club’s donation was not forgotten during this project.  I’d like to personally thank Rotarians Kurt Goodenberger, Tom Clevenger, Paul White, and Jim Blake who have worked productively with the Mayor’s office to help keep our club’s connection strong, as the scope of the project has expanded. And the Mayor deserves a great amount of credit for seeing this project through, while remembering and acknowledging the early efforts of our club.
 
Helping our Club Stay Strong during Rough Times.  I think many of our members know that your Board has been working hard to keep our organization moving forward in these extraordinary times.  Addressing the financial stability of our club now and in the future is a large part of this process.  But the forced cancellation of weekly meetings and major fundraising events has caused a significant revenue shortfall that will impact the operation of our organization. 
 
I recently sent letters to all Rotarians asking for their support in the form of a financial donation to the club, to help us cover the deficit caused by COVID-19.   Essentially, I have asked all of you to consider a donation of the cost of meals missed, approximately $175, to help us reduce our expected shortfall. Some of you have already made that commitment.   If we are able to do this with all our membership, we can enter our next fiscal year on much firmer financial footing and set the stage for a great 2020-2021.
 
                                              
 
To help make this easy, we have now established a link on our website called “Make a Donation”.  Please visit our website at www.cantonrotary.org and take the initiative to help out in this tough time.  Your generosity will keep our club strong and able to advance our mission of Service Above Self
 
Have a wonderful Memorial Day!
 
Mark