This Place Matters – An Evening to Remember

Thank you to everyone for our very successful benefit event – This Place Matters – on April 19, 2024 at the Abbey on Main! 200 people attended and we added $30,000 to the fund to acquire and preserve 297 Prospect Street. We made a lot of new memories that night and you told us why “This Place Matters” to you. You can view the entire evening on the MittTV event video

HISTORY Historian Carol Bacak-Egbo led us through the history of the property including the significant Indigenous settlements in the area, the establishment of the University of Michigan academy nearby, and on the property itself, the Dickinson Institute, Romeo High School, Romeo Junior High School, and finally Romeo Middle School. Carol’s program starts at minute 29:00 on the event video. For further discussion of Carol’s research, listen to Episode 1 the MittTV podcast with Carol, Kim Voss, and Donna Folland. Thanks to Romeo’s own archivist, Emily Malek, for bringing historical artifacts from the collection at the Romeo Community Archives to share with us. 

MUSIC The evening’s music was outstanding! Birdseye Blue was back with us, bringing their joyful and elegant sound. Thank you to these talented musicians – Mike Ulrich, Inga Granelli and Suzanne Rauch!

Ed Kiefer (of Ed & Gretch), accompanied by Suzanne on the violin, inspired us with his performance of This Place Matters, a new song celebrating our Green Space on Prospect Street – “A sacred spot in the heart of town … save these old middle school grounds”. Thank you, Ed! We hope to hear this song again and again this summer.  Ed’s song starts around minute 16:40 on the event video

TREATS AND DRINKS The dessert and cookie table was a wonder to behold! Six gifted bakers baked their love for our community into every single macaron, shortbread, and jammy thumbprint cookie. Thank you to Bobbie Dembowski, Shaina Grajek, Nicky Giles, Mary Hummon, Amy Temple and Nancy O’Brien. 

Pam and Jeremy Wilking were our gracious bartenders. 

RAFFLE AND SILENT AUCTION Thank you to everyone who donated to the raffle and silent auction! We had fine art, beautiful baskets, precious items and great services that helped to make the evening a huge success. 

Donors were: Blue Velvet Photography, Gayle Cory, Nicky Giles, Greystone Golf and Banquet, Hummon Family, Sue Kane, Stacy Kent, Koss Family, Mary Meissner, Nancy O’Brien, Old World Nouveau, Sue Poosch, Ed Proctor, Suzanne Rauch, Kristen Rolfs, Romeo Historical Society, Romeo Family Restaurant, Skelly Family, Stephens Family, Brigitte Stern, Vera’s Balloons R Fun, Wiers Family, Wilson Family, Wing Family.

David Miller donated a lithograph print and Sarah Kasper donated a painting to the silent auction. 

VOLUNTEERS “This Place Matters” was only possible due to the dedication and creative energy of our GSOPS Event Committee. Seen below on the left is (from left) Nancy O’Brien, Kim Wing, Kelley Stephens and Mary Hummons. 

The SERV volunteers from Romeo High School, coordinated by Betty Cassidy, were indispensable in making sure everyone had what they needed. Thank you Aurelia Woodcock, Ava Peraino, Filip Vignevik, Victoria Laverell and Isabella Badalamenti!

Photo below right is the GSOPS Leadership Committee that includes (from left) Rob Wing, Elizabeth Miller, Donna Folland, Franco Folino and Richard Cory. 

AND MOST OF ALL, YOU are the wind in the GSOPS sails! Thank you for pledging and donating and for showing up again and again for our community. Please visit our Supporters page to see everyone who has pledged or donated or has supported with services. 

Our Stories – Why This Place Matters

At the event, we launched “Our Stories”, a project to enrich our understanding of the 4.6-acre property at 297 Prospect Street and what it means to the community members who support its acquisition and preservation. Green Space on Prospect Street has brought together many individuals and families who support this effort in order to leave a legacy for future generations. And we have all found new friends along the way. Stay tuned for further announcements about how you can participate. 

Here are some of stories and memories from folks who attended This Place Matters on April 19th. 

Let’s start with Everett, who is a student at Amanda Moore Elementary School. The property at 297 Prospect Street is important to him “because I like to play outside in my town.” 

Michele did not go to any of the schools at 297 Prospect Street, but her children did. She advocates for preserving 297 Prospect Street as a public green space “because it is the right thing to do”. 

Greg went to Middle and High School in Romeo. He met all his closest friends and his future wife there.

About the property at 297 Prospect Street, Greg says “There is so much development happening in this area, it is important to remember we need space to gather and enjoy nature and the outdoors.” 

Ruth attended the old Junior High School in the 7th and 8th grade before getting separated to the first 9th grade class at Powell. These were some of her best years at Romeo. Ruth is happy about the “fact that it’s going to continue to be an educational spot for our young ones”. 

The property is important to Ruth because it is important to the Village’s future. Ruth says” We live here because of the village feel that parks give us. Learning from all of our experience with COVID, we learned the importance of gathering for fellowship and conversation”.

Brandy tells us “Our kids never got a chance to go to the middle school, but that was one of the deciding factors of buying our house in the Village; that our kids would be able to walk to elementary, middle and high school.”

Regarding the importance of the property, Brandy asks “When will there ever be an opportunity again to add green space to the Village? There is only one space big enough for recreation currently in the Village and that is mostly hills. Who wouldn’t want a green space/park that is flat enough to do almost anything you could dream of?”

Ryan and Marie live in the Village and would enjoy a good use of the green space for their kids. Ryan attended Romeo Middle School at 297 Prospect and has too many memories to count. 

Kathryn says “The green space is beautiful and I walk by it every day. Properties with little land would make this area less appealing.”

Carol went to K-12 at Romeo schools. She thinks of the property at 297 Prospect Street as a “historic beautiful property that will last for all to enjoy.”

Holly says “we need more green spaces, places for kids to play, gardening.” Holly’s daughters attended Romeo schools, as did her husband and sister-in-law. 

Chelsea tells us “My mother-in-law worked there for many years. My father and uncles went to school there and so did my older children.” 

Sandi lives in the Village. Sandi tells us that “Maintenance of Prospect as a green space will preserve the historical integrity.” 

Anna went to the original Romeo Middle School from ’06 to ’09. “It was an amazing building and nothing commercial should take its place.”

Anna tells us the property at 297 Prospect Street is important for the following reasons: “I think to keep the Village’s charm and traditional values, I think it needs to be a community space.” 

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