Splash Pad to be Named in Honor of Norma Jean Somers

News Release Date
05-14-2024
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For Immediate Release
May 13, 2024 

NEWS RELEASESplash Pad to be Named in Honor of Norma Jean Somers 

Commitment from the Somers Family brings the project closer to a reality.

Coloma,Michigan-At the regular City Commission meeting on Monday, May 13, 2024, a special announcement was made regarding fundraising efforts to install a Splash Pad in the community.  

Coloma Mayor Marsha Hammond shared, “I am thrilled to be making this announcement. In March of 2023, the city launched fundraising efforts to install a splash pad in the community. Since then, we have been doing very well working towards our fundraising goal. But today’s announcement is a true game changer. It is a true honor to announce that the City of Coloma is partnering with the Somers family to officially name the Splash Pad in honor of the late Norma Jean Somers.” 

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Norma. She was a true community leader that touched so many aspects of the community from the library to the schools to the hospital and much more,” added Hammond. “She is someone that I always admired and respected for her leadership and dedication to the community.”

The official name is the Norma Jean Somers Splash Pad at Randall Park. The project is a result of projects launched since adopting a Master Plan in May of 2021. Efforts to raise funds for the Splash Pad were announced in March of 2023. Cost estimates are that 165,000 to $200,000 is needed to do the project. To date, nearly $131,000 has been raised for the project. No taxpayer dollars are being used for the project. Funds are being raised through generous donations as well as potential grant funding. 

 

Norma Jean Somers passed away unexpectedly in April of 2023. Norma was a force in the community. She served on the Coloma Community School Board for 20 years. She also served healthcare in our community by serving on the Community Hospital Board for 25 years. Accepting leadership roles on both boards - School Board President and Community Hospital Board President - still continuing her dedication to the Community Hospital several years later by playing an instrumental part of the remodeling and rebranding of the Watervliet Parcourse fitness circuit. 

Her involvement in the community spans outside of formal boards into the preservation and restoration of Paw Paw Lake where she had resided for nearly 50 years - volunteering her time to better the crown jewel of our community. Furthermore, she loved the lake and those who found community there- She was a social butterfly and someone who gathered and united those at Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club. 

Lastly, with the 20-year anniversary of our beautiful Coloma Community Library, it's only fitting that this Splash Pad breaks ground this year. Norma was instrumental in securing funding and pushing the construction and dedication of the Library forward. 

Speaking on behalf of the family, Laura Somers Ginter said, “We have found an amazing way to honor and memorialize my Mom’s impact and legacy in our community. Her efforts to include everyone and better everything she touched was evident to all those around her. We couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor her and are so pleased and excited to have secured the naming rights in honor of our beloved Mother - Wife – Grandmother.” 

“There is still considerable funding needed to make this a reality in 2024 and we need help from the community to keep the project moving forward. In support of the fundraising efforts, our family is pleased to be hosting two fundraising events,” added Ginter. 

Ginter also noted, “We are hosting a small brunch for close family and friends in June and a community-wide event in September at Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club. We are hoping everyone joins us in fundraising to get this across the finish line in 2024! More details and how to purchase tickets to come.”

Commissioner Jamie Balkin shared, “We are so grateful to the Somers Family for their generosity but more importantly their willingness to help raise the additional funds needed to make the project a reality.”

“This is a true community project that the entire community is pulling together to make a reality. On behalf of the City, we are so grateful to all of the donors to date. We are also very grateful for The Leonard Fund, which launched fundraising efforts. Special thanks to North Berrien Community Development for serving as our fiduciary for the project,” added Balkin.

Mayor Hammond added, “This is a dream come true! As we met with the Somers family, we learned that Doug Somers helped in the construction of Randall Park, where the Splash Pad will be located. I am so touched by the family’s generosity and leadership. I am speechless and can’t wait to see this come together!” 

“With this level of support, it is our hope to break ground on the project late Summer or early Fall,” said Hammond. 

Balkin shared, “Our fingers are crossed on several grant applications that have been submitted. Additionally, we are working on several fundraising projects including a concert. There is clear momentum to make this project a reality. The enthusiasm is growing and contagious. So, I have a feeling that the family will not only meet the goals they have set, they will exceed them. I am so proud to be a part of this project!”

If you are interested in donating to the project, please contact the City of Coloma at 269-468-6606.  

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