What Did Lowell Community Leadership Do This Summer?

Flat River Skyline

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer.  We wondered what Lowell community leadership did during the summer months.  Specifically, we asked the following question:

What did you do over the summer?

We sent emails to 30 local government and civic leaders including the Lowell city manager, all five city councilmembers, the two adjoining township supervisors and a number of department heads and non-profit directors. We received responses from 10 people, and here’s what they sent us.  Some commented on how the summer was spent personally while others shared what their business or organization did the past few months (there was no right or wrong answer). We also asked for a photo or two to be sent if the person was so inclined to share. We have included these, when sent,  with corresponding answers.

All responses are published as received with only minor editing for grammar and clarity when needed.

Greg Pratt
Superintendent, Lowell Area Schools

I had an extremely busy summer with the passing of the bond election in May.  The district sold phase one bonds and started the design development work required to put project bids out in November. The district also hired nineteen new staff in preparation for the school year. But, I always try to find time for a little fun with the family. This summer I took a fishing trip with my father and two sons. We enjoyed a little time away catching walleye and spending time together. It was a busy but enjoyable season with my favorite times being spent with friends and family.

Mike DeVore
Mayor, City of Lowell

I spent most of the summer here in town. There’s always something great going on right here at home. Summer in Lowell is always exciting. I spent time walking downtown and river, partying at the Riverwalk Festival and watching Jerry Hale and Mark Anderson cut the ribbon on their beautiful new bridge at Pink Arrow Day. The highlight of my summer always is my week down at the Youth Fair. I already can’t wait for next summer in Lowell.

Steve Donkersloot
General Manager, Lowell Light & Power

Besides spending time at our home, getting together with family and friends for summer BBQs, and enjoying time at the beach in Grand Haven, the highlight of our summer was a 9-night PURE MICHIGAN trip in Northern Michigan.  The trip included stops in Paradise (with some of our very best friends), Sioux St Marie (to see the Locks), Mackinac Island (we even stayed at the Grand!), and Silver Lake (an annual tradition with my wife’s family). The family photo was taken while hiking near/around Tahquamenon’s Lower Falls.  Although summer is drawing to an end, I am very much looking forward to football season (GO BLUE and Go Lions) as this was not the best summer for Detroit Tiger’s Baseball!

Christa Wetzel
Executive Director, Alpha Family Center

I enjoyed making my new home my own with lots of fun projects and a garden. Here at Alpha we just signed a lease to open a new center in Lake Odessa and hired a center director to work in Lake Odessa.


Erin Walters
Principal, Bushnell Elementary School

My family and I took our new boat from Grand Haven to South Haven. We enjoyed Lake Michigan, eating delicious food along the way, walking our dogs in port and camping on a keel for a week! We also enjoyed Coast Guard Festival in Grand haven and ate Pronto Pups!

Molly Burnett
Principal, Murray Lake Elementary School

The Burnett family [And some may recognize Ryan Burnett as a second grade teacher at Cherry Creek Elementary School.] had a great summer spent with friends and families. We had many pool days that included lots of fun, friends, and laughter. We also had a “Cousin Camp” in Muskegon. We spent a week camping with our family on Lake Michigan.  We also toured the Wisconsin Dells and visited lots of fun places while we were there.

One of the highlights of our summer was a trip to Niagara Falls. Our family has never been there before. It is such a beautiful sight! 

Terra Bieneman
Coordinator, Lowell Senior Neighbors

Senior Neighbors had a fun summer!  We had a great summer at Senior Neighbors, we traveled to Holland State Park for icecream, had evening summer concerts with icecream at the Center outside, toured the Grimaldi Chocolate Factory in Grand Haven with lunch overlooking Spring Lake, and just enjoyed the beautiful Michigan Summer by being outside together to enjoy these fun things and many more activities!

I had a great summer with family and friends enjoying the beautiful weather in Michigan. Once we got through the rainy month of June we were able to enjoy our pool together, went on a couple of fun camping trips with friends, spent a day on Hardy Dam fishing with family, and of course we can’t forget the fun we had at the KCYF to round out our summer! We also decided to get an Aussiedoodle puppy at the end of Fair before school started and the kids named her Molly. [And some may recognize Jon Bieneman as the President of the Kent County Youth Fair.]

Bruce Doll
Vice President, Kent County Youth Fair 

The best part of the summer for me is that I was here to enjoy the summer.  I spent most of my summer helping make the Kent County Youth Fair the best fair ever.  As an adopted person, I was able to find and trace my birth mother, which lead to the discovery that I have 2 brothers!!

Lisa Plank
Executive Director, Lowell Area Historical Museum

At the Lowell Area Historical Museum we spent the summer getting ready for new exhibits. We are working on an exhibit called “Building History: Robert & Ernest Graham.” The exhibit will explore the life of the builder of the Museum building and his son who became a famous architect in Chicago. We also worked on historical interpretation for the new Lowell Township park. Finally, we did take breaks for fun. We hosted a day long youth summer camp, had a booth at the Thursday summer concerts and the Riverwalk festival and held our annual museum fundraiser.

Sandy Graham
Branch Manager, Lowell Englehardt and Alto KDL Branches

Both Alto and Lowell Branches of Kent District Library had several great programs and closed out “Summer Reading @ KDL”  with record numbers of completers. Lowell celebrated by having a “patron appreciation” Star Wars Day. Thanks to everyone who helped make our summer special.

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