By Don Mahon

July 22, 2018: Residents arrived in droves on this bright Saturday afternoon to view the brand new 8,000 square feet Community Center in scenic Broadmoor Park. They lined up 10-deep to observe the impressive opening ceremony and then had their first look at all the amenities in the Center.

Rotonda West new Community Center

Rotonda West residents opened their new 8,000 square foot Community Center on July 22, 2018.

The new building has a large main meeting room and three smaller ones, a library and kitchen and a priceless view of two large lakes in in the center of the Park.

Following the opening ceremony, residents filled into the main hall and side rooms and feasted on coconut shrimp and other delicacies prepared by the staff at The Hills Restaurant. Two 70-inch TV screens featured videos of the stages of the building under construction and other subjects of interest. Musical entertainment was provided.

Pastor Carl Kaltreider gave the Invocation at the opening. He is the founder and former Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, a 44-year resident and the community’s Archivist. “This is a beautiful new Center,” he said. “Many of our ‘pioneer people’…. residents that have lived here from the 1970s….were present to celebrate the answer to a lot of prayers and many years of planning.” “It’s truly a dream come true,” he concluded.

During his opening remarks, RWA President Russ Kulp welcomed the large crowd and acknowledged the vast roles of Glynn Perkins and Jay Lyons to make the building a reality. Glynn served as President for 6 years before returning to his native England. Jay was the Association Manager of 9 years until his retirement late in 2016. Current Manager Scott Feldkamp did yeoman work with requirements of the building construction since coming aboard early last year.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time and it’s wonderful,” said 17-year resident Pat Wolcoxen of the 500 block of Rotonda Circle.

Ardyne Beckett, who has lived on Tournament Road for only one month with her husband Ron, commented, “It’s beautiful and I look forward to playing Bridge here every Wednesday.”

Residents who signed the Guest Book left laudatory messages like “wow, yea. love it, worth every penny, awesome, great job.”

Posey Bauer, former President of the Rotonda West Woman’s Club and an active member, wrote, “Wonderful…never thought I’d ever see it.”

Members of Boy Scout Troop 100 in Sarasota participated with the American Legion Post 113 Honor Guard in posting of the colors in the opening ceremony in memory of the late Ryer Schermerhorn who was a member of that Troop until his untimely death. Also in his memory, the Scouts made picnic tables and benches for the Park. Ryer’s parents are Scott and Karen Schermerhorn of Rotonda West.

Soloist Johnnie Haas led the crowd in the singing of “God Bless America,”

During the Opening, a meeting room was dedicated to the memory of Fred Warner with his widow, Merrilee, present. Fred was the first volunteer of the newly-founded Rotonda West Association in 1991. He was elected President in 1992 and 1993 and was the longest serving volunteer, accumulating 25 years at time of his death. He was named “Volunteer of the Year” in 2013.

Ken Guillerm has been a long-time advocate of the new building for years, said, “this great community finally has a ‘heart’ where residents can meet and greet.” Ken has been an active volunteer and served as President of the Board in 2005. He was the recipient of the coveted “Association Board Member of the Year” in 2005, presented by the Community Associations Institute of over 200-member homeowners associations at a banquet in Fort Myers.

The Association had offices and a meeting room in a small former 2-lane bowling alley on Cape Haze Drive for 26 years. It outgrew the facility years ago as the community grew.

During the Opening Ceremony. Earl Haas recognized several individuals and organization that provided special gifts. Earl is the long-standing chairman of the Community Relations Committee. John Farrell was applauded for providing the $50,000 sale price to purchase the 168-acre Broadmoor Park. The Cultural Guild of the Greater Cape Haze Peninsula donated $93,000 for structural elements like the entire floor tile. The RV Storage Association gave $2,500 for state-of-the art audio visual equipment, including two 70-inch TVs. The Woman’s Club donated $8,500 for tables and chairs. Roger Leigh donated a parrot statue worth $1,800 as his retirement gift. And residents George and Donna Krabbe presented the RWA with a 9-foot artificial Christmas tree.

A resident who wishes to remain anonymous donated a $710 chandelier. Ground was broken for the new building last November and was constructed in seven months by Synergy Construction of Englewood. Paul Bigness, owner, was introduced to the crowd.

Residents were requested to bring nonperishable food items and household goods for Englewood Helping Hand. “Thanks to this caring community, we were able to fill their shelves with 526 pounds of food and residents also donated $224 cash to help stem the tide while they are experiencing a seasonal decline in donations,” said Earl Haas.

“This Center is a tribute to dozens of residents who participated in the planning and those who gave us their support,” said Russ Kulp, Association President. “We send along a very sincere ‘thank you all.”