www.mybaycity.com May 14, 2013
Rotary Article 8156

Peggy Rowley Tells Riverwalk Story

May 14, 2013
By: Stephen Kent

Peggy Rowley
Peggy Rowley, a familiar Bay Citian to everyone, spoke to the club about some of the history of the Riverwalk development and the Community Foundation's early days.

If one took anything away from the talk, it was that Peggy has a way of getting things done. She doesn't stop just because someone says "you can't do that", and the doesn't stop the project only needs funds raised.

The Riverwalk started about 30 years when the Kantzler Foundation called Peggy. Kantzler had some money to donate and was exploring Community Foundations. Peggy, then with the Bay Arts Council, worked with them to accept the money with the intent of starting a Community Foundation and passing the money to them.

Peggy was sent for training the returned to set up a number of committees to study things a CF could do. Many ideas were put forward (many of which have since been completed). Saginaw was also starting a CF and the National leadership said that neither would be successful if separate because there was not enough population. "Well, I don't always go by the rules", said Peggy. "I like to do things my way."

Doing it her way, Peggy wanted the foundation to be pro-active. The group wanted to address the communities appearance and activities, which lead to the Riverwalk. The tag line became "If you care, Buy a Share" and they began to raise funds starting at $25 each. The Bay City Times donated signs with shareholder names, which are still in place.

Working from donated offices on Saginaw Street, one of the first proposals was a donation from the Fords for $10,000. Not knowing better, Peggy responded "Oh, I was hoping you'd give $25,000", the cost for a bridge over the Davidson Slip. That approach worked and the bridge was funded. A similar story was benches set for $500 each. When someone complained they they would not buy if the proposed Hooters restaurant was approved, Peggy just raised the price to $1,000... and sold all benches.

The Foundation was one of many groups that went to the state for a grant. They wanted money for a pier to be built on the old train pilings. Peggy was asked who owned those pilings. She knew that neither the city or the railroad claimed them because of liability. Thinking fast she said "The city owns them". She got the funds.

The pier faced more challenges because common terns were nesting there and were protected. Working with Consumers Power, a group used recordings of mating calls and other methods to lure the birds away and relocate them in another area. This type of obstacle happened more than once and was always overcome because Peggy did it her way.

Talking about the crooked bridge connecting the mainland to the Middlegrounds Island, Peggy said that was intentional. "Every bend gave us another place to get donations". Her hope was to name the crooked bridge "Cridge" to play off the Midland "Tridge". But she was told that nothing in the city could have the name "crooked" in it. She still likes the name and laughingly used it throughout her talk.

The Riverwalk today connects the many features of the riverfront and is considered by many to be a jewel of the area. Peggy Rowley herself is the other jewel for all the many things she has championed and seen completed by doing it her way.


President Kim's term is winding down. Today she held her next to last auction of Kim's stuff and raised $100 for Regina Turner. The item was a basket she called "Kim's Klean Kountry". The basket was from her garage, but the items were new products from SC Johnson donated by Andrea Hales.

Tim Holsworth says "remember the golf outing at the Bay City Country Club on June 24".

Stephen Kent reported on research into Club Secretaries. The longest serving was Art Milster who resigned in 1973 after 49 years in the post! More information is on the club web site at www.rotarybaycity.org/rot-H112.cfm

Reminder that the club will again man the Tall Ships Welcome Tents when the ships return this summer. Talk to Nancy Greve if you want to participate in this "premier" event of the summer.

Remember the off site meeting at the Country Club on June 18.

If you wish to serve on the club's 100 year anniversary committee, please contact Ron Bloomfield. The committee will start meeting in the next few weeks.

Lee Newton says that a committee is formed to begin planning next year's International Night on October 3rd. Their first meeting will be Tuesday June 4 at 11:00 before the regular meeting.

Brenda Scramlin announced that all county high schools will be represented at the Rotary Youth Leadership Camp this year. The students will speak to the club at the June 18 off site meeting at the Country Club.


International Night Committee 11:00 June 4.

Off Site Meeting at Country Club June 18, 2013

Annual Golf Outing June 24, 2013.

Upcoming Programs

(See the official schedule at RotaryBayCity.org )

May 21, 2013: Optimal aging, and how it relates to the wellness concepts by Dr. K. Rumi Shahzad

June 04, 2013: Delta College Gray Water Reuse Facility

June 11, 2013: Rotary Program Day

June 18, 2013: Rotary Youth Leadership Academy
Presented by Area High School Students that attended 2013 RYLA
OFF SITE MEETING at Bay City Country Club.

Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.

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RotaryBayCity.org BayCityMorningRotary.com
District 6310 Web Site District Dispatch Archive
Rotary International Make-up On-Line at RotaryEclubOne.org
The Rotary Global History Fellowship rotaryfirst100.org
Rotary Global History.

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