It’s been a long time coming, but the new Three Mile Community Center is up and running. Located at 4433 Sunnyside Cemetery Road, the center is on the east side of Lone Rock Park. The building contains a large meeting room, a warming kitchen, a state-of-the-art audio visual system, and a gorgeous view of the Bitterroot Mountains to the west.
The building is now home to the senior center and the Weekend Backpack Program that serves Lone Rock School. The surrounding park contains soccer and baseball fields, tennis and volleyball courts, a walking path, a playground and a covered picnic shelter.
According to Colleen Schmiedeke, who serves on both the park board and the community center board, they started working on this in 2012 and incorporated in 2014. She said the total cost is approximately $500,000. When Schmiedeke “got really involved,” the group had raised about $140,000. The park board made the decision to take out a loan to finish the project. She said they worked with Farmers State Bank to keep their loan payments reasonable. Those payments come out of park taxes that are already being assessed, Schmiedeke is proud that they didn’t have to run a levy, so this won’t have any additional impact on people’s property taxes.
In addition to the loan, the project was paid for by the Three Mile Community Senior Center (the official name) which raised over $80,000 through community picnics, rummage sales, bingo nights and donations from community members. Other major contributors were the Three Mile Fire District, the Lone Rock Park and the Rapp Family Foundation.
Schmiedeke said there were many volunteers who helped on the project, and TMCSC received reduced prices from contractors. The general contractor donated labor, and they got the windows from Pella at half price.
Another great feature, said Schmiedeke, is the drive-thru coffee shop that will be opening soon in the parking lot.
The Three Mile Community Center will hold a grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 9th from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. There will be games and refreshments. The community is invited to come out and celebrate this great new facility.
The Lone Rock Park is the legal owner of the center, but TMCSC will manage it and handle the scheduling. TMCSC is governed by a five-member board of directors. Current directors are Joyce Pando, president; Paul Hayes, vice president; Colleen Schmiedeke, secretary/treasurer; Wendy Audiss, Sgt. at Arms/grant writer; and Kenn Hoekstra, member at large. Board meetings are held the last Wednesday of the month at 7:30 a.m. and are open to the public. The group manages the Backpack Program and also provides charitable assistance to individuals and groups in the Three Mile community. Members and/or the public can submit the names of community groups or individuals that may be in need of charitable services, perhaps a family that lost a parent or child to tragedy, or an individual in need of durable medical equipment.
A coffee hour is held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 a.m. and Schmiedeke says everyone is welcome to come enjoy coffee and good conversation and get to know your neighbors.
More information can be found on the website at 3milecc.org or phone 406-360-3385.
“Managing the Three Mile Community Center, providing Weekend Backpacks, and assisting community members in times of need are what defines our existence,” said board member Wendy Audiss. “Our success is not only measured in dollars raised and redistributed throughout our community, but by providing services and making life better in our community.”