$14 Million Gift to the City of Coldwater

Robert W. Browne posing for a picture with people in the background
Dr. Robert W. Browne, and his wife Lynn, have made the financial commitment of funding up to $11 million dollars for a major expansion of recreational facilities within the City of Coldwater. The project includes an aquatic center on the grounds of Legg Middle School, at the corner of Bishop and Western Avenues, as well as a major expansion of the Heritage Independence Recreation Gymnasium.

Aquatic Center


This multi-million dollar donation benefiting the community and Coldwater Community Schools includes a state of the art aquatic center with an eight lane competitive pool, separate warm water zero entry therapy pool, spectator seating, locker rooms and community rooms. The facility has been designed with the latest in energy saving green technology.


Heritage Independence Recreation Gymnasium 
With the gift from Dr. Browne, the Heritage Independence Recreation Gymnasium has now doubled in size. It includes a multi-purpose floor that will be usable for:

  • Basketball
  • Community Activities
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
The facility also includes an indoor walking track and community rooms.

About Dr. Robert W. Browne 
Dr. Robert W. Browne is the American success story. Coming from humble beginnings as a child in Coldwater, this distinguished alumni of the 1942 graduating class of Coldwater High School succeeded in serving his country as a WWII bomber pilot. He returned from the war to put himself through dental school at the University of Michigan, eventually becoming an orthodontist, and ultimately a successful businessman and philanthropist in the Grand Rapids area.

Dr. Browne has always remembered the time he spent in Coldwater and the lessons he learned during those lean depression era times. His first donation to the Coldwater community was the complete remodeling of the United Methodist Church in honor of his grandmother, Muriel, in 1997. Later in 2002, he was responsible for donating funds to build the Henry L. Brown Municipal Building. The building was named after his grandfather who had served on the City Council from 1938 to 1942. Ironically, the press conference announcing this project was held in the council chamber that bears his grandfather’s name.

About the Donation 
“Recreational activities relate to quality of life for a community, and this will be a huge asset and positive impact to Coldwater,” said Tom Kramer, Mayor of Coldwater. “We cannot emphasize enough how appreciative we are to Dr. Browne for this generous gift to our community. The economic impact of this project will be felt in every industry. Community recreation is one of the top areas that businesses and families look at when relocating to a new community.”

Impact of the Donation 
Dr. Tina Kerr, Superintendent of Coldwater Community Schools stated, “The addition of an aquatic center is momentous for our school district. We intend to use the resources of the facility to provide birth to senior therapeutic and recreational programming. We are so privileged to have a Coldwater graduate think so highly of his education and childhood that he gives back in a way that will impact our students for decades to come. This is more than an aquatic center; this is a community center for everyone to use.”

Also speaking on behalf of Coldwater Community Schools was Board President Robin Iveson who noted, “Our students will have year round access to facilities that will provide them with healthy activities that build their skills and self-esteem. This is a huge step from a fitness standpoint, not to mention the social and team building opportunities for our school district.”

About the Project 
The City will be collaborating with Coldwater Community Schools to operate both facilities and provide enrichment programs which will benefit both students and community members. The facility was designed by Integrated Architecture of Grand Rapids.

Send a Thank You

Send a personal thank you note to Dr. Robert W. Browne. Thank you notes can be sent to:
City of Coldwater
c/o Dr. Browne Family Donation
1 Grand Street
Coldwater, MI 49036

Questions or Concerns

Please send any questions or concerns to:
Jeff Budd, City Manager
City of Coldwater