A local lake group announced its newest fundraiser to help save Grand Lake St. Marys that encompasses a nationwide grant competition. During their meeting Saturday morning, members of the Lake Improvement Association learned the group is vying for one of two $250,000 grants through the Pepsi Refresh Project.
"We are going for one of the $250,000 grants for a treatment train with one of our tributaries," Milt Miller said. "Right now we are at No. 17 — we really need everyone’s help to network this thing, it’s popular vote."
He encouraged residents to network the voting by e-mail and to children.
"You can also text your votes," he said.
Miller noted one of the $250,000 grant competitors include the New Bremen-New Knoxville Rotary Club’s Sunshine Park.
"The Rotary is at No. 11," he said. "It’s all about votes — you can vote every day for a month. You’re allowed to vote once for each project."
Miller noted voters do not have to be from Ohio to vote for their project.
"This could mean $250,000 in one big hit for us," he said.
Miller noted participants can cast their votes at www.refresheverything.com/savegrandlakestmarys or by texting 104816 to Pepsi (73774).
"They pick the top two in each category," he added.
During their meeting, members also heard about other fundraisers for the lake. Portions from the Bubba and Hoss Christmas Party Dec. 23 at the Union Hall in St. Marys will go toward lake restoration, Romer’s Catering will be holding a New Year’s Eve party, from which the group will receive a donation, Bayview will be holding a duck race at 3 p.m. Jan. 15 to benefit the lake and there will be a three or four-day carp derby fundraiser next year.
Brian Miller with Grand Lake St. Marys State Park noted 2011 will be the 50th anniversary of the Lake Festival.
"We’re going to have to re-market the area and bring focus to the lake," Miller said, adding they will be bringing a professional water ski team from the Akron area in for the festival.
"They will come in and do a 12-man pyramid behind a boat — it will help bring focus to the lake."
He said the performers will have four different half-hour shows beginning Friday evening between the Amphicars and fireworks.
"This certainly has the potential to be a very good people-drawer for this lake," LIA President Tim Lovett added. "It’s important we can get back on this water."
In other business, LIA members:
• Approved the 2011 budget.
• Approved the 2011 officers: President Tim Lovett, Vice President Mark Piening, Treasurer Pat Lovett, Master of Arms Bob Sachs, Secretary Kate Anderson, Trustee Stan Wilker, Trustee Dave Meyer, Trustee Tony Seger and Trustee Jeff Vossler.
The next meeting of the LIA will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 at the Celina Moose Lodge.
There will be no January meeting.