I have lived in Kiel for most of my life and been involved with the city government for many years and one thing that has always been at the forefront in our community has been the work of volunteers in contributing to the amenities and well being of the community.
Many of our parks have been funded and developed by volunteer groups such as the Lions, Kiwanis and Optimist Clubs and the various sports organizations sponsor and provide the volunteer coaches for the youth baseball, football, basketball and soccer programs. A recently developed youth theatre group has also provided opportunities for the youth in Kiel to explore the stage.   We are very fortunate to have all of these volunteers and their support groups providing activities and recreational opportunities for the citizens of Kiel. The city budget could never support all of the great things accomplished by these organizations. We are very grateful for all that they do to support the community.
About a year ago the City of Kiel revised and combined the Community Center and Stoelting House committees in an effort to better monitor and maintain the Community Center complex of buildings and enhance programming at the Community Center.  A volunteer group called the Friends of the Community Center has been established as a committee that meets monthly to plan facility upgrades and work with the Community Center Director to plan Community Center activities and events for all ages.
Much has been accomplished by this committee of volunteers at the Community Center over the past year with the help of monetary donations of over $11,000 from community organizations and individuals.  The Community Center was cleaned from top to bottom and a fresh coat of paint was added to the interior walls. Window treatments were built and installed, new chair rail was installed and new artwork has been added and updated seasonally. Storage areas were cleaned and organized and the kitchen was updated with a new table, stainless steel countertop, floor tile replacement and a new dishwasher. Large flat-screen TVs have been installed on both upper and lower levels of the building to enhance video presentations and a PA system was replaced.  The exterior was also cleaned, deck and trim work stained and landscaping revamped.  Most of this work was accomplished by a very dedicated group of volunteers coordinated through the Friends of the Community Center.
In addition to the building upgrades, activities and programming at the Community Center have also been expanded.  Weekly activities include card playing, bingo, movie days, game days and exercise classes like Strong Women.  There are also additional groups of people and clubs like a woodcarving club meeting at the center on a weekly basis. Youth dance classes are also held at the center. The Community Center is open for additional activities if community members have a group that needs a place to gather for an activity.
The Friends of the Community Center have planned and held several events throughout the year that are open to anyone in the community. These events included a wine and cheese tasting, an October party, a presentation by Henschel’s Indian Museum, and a recently held Dip into Spring event featuring teas and olive oil tastings.  The next event will be a wine tasting in May. These events were well attended by the community but there is always room for additional participation.
With the Community Center building and activity program well established the Friends of the Community Center are now planning a major upgrade to the interior and exterior of the Stoelting House in 2017. The Stoelting House was the building that was originally used as a Community Center in Kiel and has recently been used as a meeting place by smaller clubs, civic organizations and for family parties.  This building has not been updated in many years and is in need of cleaning, paint, general repair and replacement of many items both in the interior and on the exterior.  
The renovations will include interior painting of the rooms, new carpeting of the living room and porch areas, window treatments, new furniture and interior décor upgrades. Exterior upgrades will include window repair and paint, door replacements, deck staining, and railing replacements. Most of this work will be done by volunteers and coordinated by the Friends of the Community Center.  Interior cleaning and preparation for painting has already begun.
To help offset costs for this renovation the Friends of the Community Center has applied for a grant and is soliciting the community for donations from businesses and individuals. The “Friends” has already received several nice donations that will be applied to this project. Donations of period or antique furniture are also needed for the interior renovations. Please consider a donation to this worthwhile community project.
Once completed the Stoelting House will be another great asset for Kiel residents as a meeting location for community organizations and families.  My thanks go out to all the volunteers and contributors of funds that are making these projects in Kiel a success.
As the City of Kiel moves into spring we are planning for our summer projects with the major project being sewer, water and street work in the South Sixth Street, Fifth Street and River Terrace neighborhoods.  We will repair and replace curb and gutter, replace water laterals and repave streets.
The spring election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4th. I have always felt that our local elections are the most direct and purest form of government that we have.  
I would encourage all to get out and vote for the candidates of your choice.