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Hometown Pride Winner: The Revitalization Association of Weeping Water (RAWW)

Congratulations to our Hometown Pride winner: The Revitalization Association of Weeping Water (RAWW). This organization is focused on creating a thriving community through projects that honor Weeping Water’s unique history, while promoting the people and events of the city.

RAWW’s board chairs four committees: design, promotion, organization, and economic revitalization. Each one plays a pivotal role in the projects and it’s important that they all work together to achieve the main goal. The board holds regular town hall meetings where anyone in the community can express concerns about something that needs fixing or renovating. From there, the board prioritizes the ideas, choses a project, raises funds, and implements it. From beginning to end, the process is collaborative and listens to the voices of the people.

“RAWW is headed and maintained by eight board of director members,” said RAWW member Michael Kindle. “It’s a joy to work with them. They are seemingly tireless with their input and opinions, their innovative approach and ideas, their creativity, their enthusiasm, and their overall care for the city.”

The idea for RAWW began back in 2019, when a small group of Weeping Water citizens asked the question, “What can we do for Weeping Water that will stimulate business growth?”

Only a community knows what it needs so the people of Weeping Water came together and shared a list of wants and desires at several town hall meetings. In 2020, progress for the organization slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but hope was not lost. During that time, the association buckled down, formed a board of directors, wrote board rules, and applied to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Finally in March 2021, the team’s dream became a reality and RAWW was officially a nonprofit.

The organization prides itself on how they make positive change in the Weeping Water community. “Positive change comes about through acceptance. Acceptance comes about through involvement. Involvement comes about through notification of information. The Revitalization Association of Weeping Water notifies and involves the people of Weeping Water through town hall meetings held during the year,” said Kindle.

One of their greatest success stories happened during the height of the pandemic. In 2020, RAWW took on their first restoration project – the downtown gazebo lot. The goal was to renovate the gazebo and its landscape by adding a bubbling rock fountain and designing a beautiful new mural to hang on the adjacent building wall honoring the history of the city. Because of social distancing procedures and masking requirements, much of the planning took place through phone calls, emails, and texting. However, in early 2021 when most people were vaccinated, the team rose above the challenges and work began on the lot.

The Weeping Water community came together to see the project through, donating money and labor that lead to the project’s completion and success. In June 2021, there was a ceremony celebrating the new gazebo. The ceremony was well attended by the community, as well as the RAWW president, the Weeping Water mayor, the Cass County Commissioner, and the district State Senator, all in attendance to show their support.

“It was a proud moment for the city and for RAWW,” said Kindle.

When asked what the group will do with their $500 award, of course, they mentioned using the money for city projects. The design committee has discussed building a replica of the railroad depot to be used for events. The economic revitalization committee has also discussed the possibility of establishing or bringing a meat shop to town — both projects that would benefit the Weeping Water community.

Want to highlight your local organization that’s helping the community? Submit it here.