The Hillsdale Rotary Club will soon complete the Sandy Beach project at Lake Baw Beese.
According to Richard Moore, project chairman of the Rotary Club committee for the Sandy Beach project, the last stage will bring changes to the park entrance and landscaping.
“The final phase involves moving the park entrance away from the beach. This will create more green space and promote a safer traffic flow around the park,” Moore said.
The Rotary club began fundraising for phase five in 2019 and raised nearly $100,000, according to Moore. All of this funding will be spent in the last phase.
“We will also be adding more trees and other landscaping improvements in early 2022,” Moore said.
Phase four took more than four years to complete because of difficulties with COVID-19, according to Moore.
In the spring of 2022, a celebration is planned for the completion of the Sandy Beach Project.
The Rotary Club first began providing outdoor areas to the Hillsdale community when the club paved the Baw Beese bike and walk trail.
“After that, we decided that we wanted to do something more that the public would help support and use,” Moore said. “The park back then was neglected and needed to be renovated, but the City of Hillsdale, who own the land and park, didn’t have the resources to make the improvements. The Hillsdale Rotary Club decided to take on this project knowing it would be a long-term project and would take a considerable amount of time and money.”
In 2010, renovations began at Sandy Beach. The Hillsdale Rotary Club has been funding the project ever since.
Phase one was completed in 2011, which created a new beach with 650 tons of new beach sand and added new tables and a new walkway. Phase two renovated the concession building in 2012. Phase three was completed in 2014, and created a new playground area at the beach, which the community installed. Phase four improved the sand volleyball courts and created a new basketball court in 2017.
“Over $425,000 has been raised and spent during the last 12 years,” Moore said.
This money was donated from both businesses and individuals, according to Moore. Among the donors for the project are Bill Brodbeck and Steve Higley, who are affiliated with the Hillsdale Board of Trustees. Brodbeck retired in 2019, and Higley currently serves on the board. The Hillsdale Hospital also donated to the project.
“We wanted to make a place for everyone, a place for the community, students, and faculty of Hillsdale College to use,” Moore said.
Junior Marie Hecklinger, who grew up in Hillsdale, said she appreciates the work that has been done at Baw Beese.
“I’ve been going to Baw Beese since I was a kid and it’s a great place to meet up with friends,” Hecklinger said. “It’s a really fun place to make memories.”
Sophomore Anna Bassols also said she enjoys spending time there.
“As a college student, it’s such a nice break from campus,” Bassols said. “I love that we have a place we can go to just get out and do something different and active.”