By Steve Barg
As I write this yearend report, there is still no snow on the ground despite the fact that it is now only four days before Christmas. Although some of you are probably anxious to see “the white stuff” for outdoor recreation and other reasons, there is at least one benefit to the city: no snowplowing cost.
Anyway, as we near the end of another year, I would like to give you a summary of what has been accomplished at the city of Marshfield this year, and next week, Mayor Chris Meyer will write an article that previews the year ahead.
Perhaps the most significant item in 2015 was the start of construction on the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library. After a successful capital campaign that raised approximately $5 million, groundbreaking for this beautiful new facility occurred in September, and completion is anticipated by November 2016.
As this long-awaited project — nearly a decade in the making — winds down next summer and fall, expect to see plans moving forward for renovation of the current library into a community center, which will serve as home for the new senior center as well as the city’s Park & Recreation Department office and other tenant and meeting spaces.
Speaking of the senior center, their former home was razed, and during construction of the new library, the group has moved temporarily to the Marshfield Mall, where they have a nice space of similar size, which is serving well as an interim location for senior activities.
Another successful project has been the addition of a new Kodiak bear exhibit at Wildwood Zoo, which was also made possible by the hard work of a dedicated fundraising team and generous donations from our community totaling more than $1 million. Topping off this exciting development was the arrival of two Kodiak bears in October, which resulted in outstanding publicity and has drawn a substantial amount of new visitors to the zoo and to Marshfield. Combining recreation and tourism, Wildwood Zoo is now an even more important asset to the city and the surrounding area.
One more noteworthy project, while it is still in the early stages, is the possible sale of the City Hall Plaza and relocation of City Hall to the Forward Financial building at the northwest corner of Chestnut Avenue and West Sixth Street. The mayor will cover this opportunity in more detail next week, but if this occurs, it would serve two valuable purposes. It would bring new housing to the downtown area (inside of City Hall), where these residents can patronize stores, restaurants, etc., and it would provide a considerably more efficient and cost-effective space for citizens to access city services.
On behalf of the mayor, council members, and city staff, I wish you a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year’s season and a terrific new year in 2016. And as always, I invite you to give us your questions, concerns, and suggestions because we very much value your input and feedback.