(Renderings done by Schalow’s Nursery Inc.)
By Adam Hocking
MARSHSHFIELD — A landscaped garden and terrace could soon replace some vacant properties on Central Avenue in Marshfield. Marshfield’s Economic Development Board approved a development agreement between Rogers Cinema Inc. and the city of Marshfield, which would see currently vacant buildings at 451 and 453 S. Central Ave. razed, and in their place a landscaped terrace and garden park area would be built.
In the agreement Rogers Cinema Inc., which owns the properties that are planned to be razed, would be responsible for demolishing the buildings and developing and maintaining the landscaping at the site until such time that it would transfer the property over to the city. Once Rogers Cinema Inc. transfers the land to the city, the city would be responsible for maintaining the area.
The agreement calls for Rogers Cinema Inc. to deed the land to the city on or before Oct. 14, and Paul Rogers, owner of Rogers Cinema Inc., said, “We’re very optimistic we’re going to raise the money and finish the project and dedicate on Oct. 15.”
The space, which will be named “Marilyn Hardacre Park,” will mostly be funded by private contributions, and there is a fund set up for donations at the Marshfield Area Community Foundation. The city would contribute $25,000 to the project with funding coming from the Economic Development Board.
Doine Excavating, who will demolish the current structures on the property, said that pending a permit for the work, they will begin demolition between June 10 -15.
Rogers said that has he wanted to do something like this to honor the legacy of Hardacre for about the last five years.
“We never recognized her appropriately as far as I was concerned,” Rogers said. Rogers cited numerous projects Hardacre has been involved in over the years — from Hope Lodge, to the development of Veteran’s Parkway, and many more.
“She was the vision. She was the force,” Rogers said.
The total cost of the project is about $300,000, Rogers said, and added that thus far about $100,000 has been raised.
Rogers said that any money raised over the amount needed to complete the project would go into a fund, under the direction of Main Street Marshfield, which could then draw out up to $5,000 a year to bring entertainers to the terrace.
The common council will vote on the development agreement on Tuesday, June 9. If approved, the council would also later have to approve a budget resolution to allocate the $25,000 to the project.
The council unanimously approved the adoption of the Downtown Master Plan in March, a document that defines goals and a vision for the future of downtown Marshfield. Two of the goals in the Master Plan were to:
—Create an attractive downtown environment through investments in streetscaping; art installations; parks and greenspaces; and quality, private redevelopment projects.
—Provide a centrally located, visible, and functional gathering space where residents and visitors can congregate informally or during downtown events.
Rogers said that as part of the project murals are planned for the walls of the terrace that will capture “Marshfield past and present.”
“Not only is this a tribute to Marilyn, this is going to be a beautiful piece of art and green space on our downtown,” Rogers said.
Main Street Marshfield Executive Director Angie Eloranta said that the park would both honor Hardacre’s legacy and be an opportunity to bring more cultural enrichment to downtown Marshfield.
“The Hardacre Park honors someone who has done — and continues to do — so much for our community. This park will continue Marilyn’s goodwill by improving the downtown in so many ways. The park will give downtown a place to relax and visit with friends. It will also give Main Street Marshfield the opportunity to use it for specific event programming that would bring more arts, music, and culture to the downtown. We are very excited about the Hardacre Park and the opportunities it presents,” Eloranta said.
Donations to the project can be sent to the Marshfield Area Community Foundation. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 456, dropped off at the Marshfield Area Community Foundation’s office at 907 N. Central Ave., or made online at marshfieldareacommunityfoundation.org. Checks should specify “Hardacre Park” in the memo line.