Energy bunny

Published 8:17 am Thursday, July 15, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
EDWARDSBURG -- Energetic, innovative and a visionary are ways to describe one man who is making a difference in Cass County in a noticeable way.
Troy Treat may have a Niles address, but he remains loyal to Edwardsburg and Cassopolis and the entire county. He also has a dry-wall business in Mishawaka, Ind., the medical plaza behind Taco Bell in Dowagiac, and a complex of stores in Edwardsburg, where he has an office.
Never at a loss for a new idea, he not only comes up with the initial plan, he is an active participant in the completion of each project.
As bulldozers leveled land behind the plaza where T.R. Investments resides, he could be found sitting on a mound of dirt envisioning how his housing units would interrelate with the surrounding walkways, pond and landscaping -- all still in his mind. Earth continued to move until he was satisfied it was perfect.
Treat's father Jim was a Mason and instilled in him a sense that "fellowship in a community -- bonds a community." He and his mother Helene live in Niles.
Maybe that is why Treat is preserving and restoring the Masons' old Backus Lodge across from the courthouse in downtown Cassopolis, transforming it into a banquet hall which he will rent out for weddings and parties.
Plans include adding huge video screens in the front room to allow guests to visit while a band plays in the room in the back. A kitchen will be available to warm and set up food, or he will also offer catering.
Shadow boxes on the wall will feature memorabilia from the many meetings held in that space, along with blown up photos of the metal images on wood blocks he found in the crawl space.
Treat wants to merge the heritage of the past with a futuristic look of the future, using the original floors and stage. The building will be non-smoking with an area leading outside to porch and smoking section.
The Backus Masonic Lodge No. 55 is merging with the Dowagiac lodge. The money received for the building, the Masons agreed to give back to the community where they spent their lives. Gifted were the Cass Council on Aging (COA), Hospice of Cass County and the Medical Care Facility on Hospital Street in Cassopolis.
Treat grew up in Edwardsburg, where he graduated in 1984, then attending Ferris State for two years. He and his wife Kelly, a teacher at Patrick Hamilton Middle School in Dowagiac, have three children: T.J., 14, Tory, 10, and Tyler, 6.
Troy wanted to "rule the world," coming out of school. He got into construction and continues to be a builder. His Village Commons came to Edwardsburg in 1998, bringing nice offices and retail opportunity. In Village Commons II is the welcomed addition of a Subway and laundromat.
A fire at the Commons didn't destroy Treat, even though he was almost 100 percent rented at the time. "I put it back in three months," he added. Like the Backus Lodge Hall, which he plans on opening after only four to five weeks work, he doesn't sit back and wait.
Three months ago he purchased the Gateway plaza in Edwardsburg and immediately started maintenance, cleaning up and painting. Removing 15 semi-loads of junk and trash, he said, "you can now see the wetlands."
An apartment complex of nearly 50 units going up behind the Commons and Gateway will also provide residents a workout room, sitting area with fireplace and computer room -- all within walking distance of stores. The courthouse style living he describes has crown moulding and vaulted ceilings and a playground.
Another residential complex he is developing will sit across from Cassopolis' Ross Beatty High School. Also south of downtown Cassopolis, he is tearing down the old Clark Equipment building which he plans to become a recycling center.
With a large number of employees, about 170, Treat multitasks simultaneously. "I surround myself with individuals I can trust," he said. "I look at a community's needs."
If that wasn't enough, Treat has developed and patented a flashing safety triangle for use in emergencies which holds its light for 140 hours, before recharging. When the power went out recently in Edwardsburg, he donated lights to be used at intersections.
Another venture, which just may be his mid-life crisis -- is going nationwide, Legends Motor Sports, making custom high performance motorcycles and choppers, with names like "Wild Child" and "Capone."
And his last comment, "I get bored if I sit too long," can definitely be believed.