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Supporting the arts and the Caroga Lake Music Festival

In 2014, a gift to the town of Caroga has initiated both promising opportunities and frustrating contention.

It is ironic that the recent Sherman’s purchase proposal, with 100 percent focus on revival of Caroga Lake through a wide variety of arts, entertainment, education and community-driven programs for children and adults, could be met with animosity by some of the people who have the most to gain from it.

Notably, the Caroga Lake Music Festival began as a homegrown festival in 2012, and the Caroga Arts Collective was established as a 501c (3) community charity in 2016.

If Caroga Arts Collective had formally existed before 2014, I believe that town residents would very likely have been thrilled with a chance to “rescue” Sherman’s.

If the property is leased for development, investors who have the funds may be hard to find.

Community members may be disappointed to see little priority, if any, towards their needs and interests. Hotels, and rental units are motivated by income for the investors. That kind of development could be better done privately on other sites in Caroga.

If the property becomes a public park, expenses would likely “close the door” for return of the carousel, the marginally-updated performance area, and the creation of a new lakeside Community Center with many, many options for use, which Caroga Lake truly needs.

If Sherman’s property is sold to the non-profit group, CAC has publicly and voluntarily pledged to continue to pay both the town’s portion of property tax and fire department tax.

Tax-paying small and medium-size new businesses will bring an increase in summer and year-round jobs. A much more positive financial future will ensue for property owners and for the town of Caroga.

Continued success and growth of the CLMF is already happening. It is just one part of the many free or affordable outreach programs that Caroga Arts already provides.

This community will thrive.

On Nov. 5, Caroga voters will have an opportunity to pass a referendum that will support community development at Sherman’s to benefit all of us.

Let us not lose sight of the magic, the music, and our capability to make a good choice for Caroga.

Martha Price (not related to Dr. Kyle Price) has resided in East Caroga Lake since 1978.

MARTHA PRICE

Caroga Lake