Southwest Michigan community center vandalized

NEW TROY, Mich. (WNDU) – A hidden gem in southwestern Michigan is recovering after someone robbed and vandalized New Troy’s only community center.

The incident came a day after the center collected donations at a free children’s film festival and pancake breakfast.

And in a town like New Troy, a small community center like this can play a big role. For a place with less than 500 people there is nothing else like it.

“When I was little, my grandmother would take me here and we would play, and Mrs. Sally would read to us.” said New Troy resident Thomas Dyer.

Thomas has many more memories to make here at the New Troy Community Center, but for now he will have to wait for the board that runs this establishment to recover from the recent incident of vandalism that left their floor in a mess and their empty donation box.

“This whole area here, and you can tell where the fan was turned on,” said Victoria Petroff, vice-chair of the Friends of New Troy board.

One of the Friends of New Troy board members said someone broke in last Sunday. They broke into the donation box and took all the money raised from their event the day before.

Now there is no more money to continue their monthly gatherings and community offerings.

“There is no other community center in our area and I think at this point it is the cornerstone of New Troy. It’s the thing that’s left, and New Troy has a great story,” Petroff said.

The vandalism came in the form of all that dust left behind by someone using a fire extinguisher, and that’s after a few attempts to clean it up.

Between the stolen money and the mess left behind, they ask for help to recover, even though they are used to having to fend for themselves.

“When we get out of the tourist areas, and when we get out of those places, there are still people here doing the groundwork to build strong communities for people to leave,” Petroff said.

So one day the New Troy Community Center will be there for Thomas’ children to create their own memories.

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