By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Following a previous meeting of the Marshfield Common Council, negotiations fell out between city leaders and the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) on space originally designated for the program in the new Community Center facilities. In closed session on Dec. 20, the common council discussed viable options for filling the now vacant space.
“The common council and the ADRC were not able to come to terms on the rental agreement for the space in the Community Center that was identified for them, so that left about 3,500 square feet of space available that the common council will ultimately have to decide what to do with,” said Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer in his weekly radio interview with WDLB AM 1450. “So there was some discussion about other nonprofit-type organizations that are funded with tax dollars of some sort that could be good tenants in that space that could make them more accessible to the public.
“We are not looking for any type of commercial or retail tenant. That is not the business we are in. In fact, that is the reason we are selling City Hall, to get out of that business — one of the reasons.”
One potential tenant discussed by city leaders was the Marshfield Job Center, which currently resides in the United Way building at 156 S. Central Ave.
“They are just using some available office space there because their funding has been drastically cut over the last few years, and Wood County had retracted some of the services from Marshfield, including (the) Job Center,” said Meyer. “The city of Marshfield provided space in the city hall for a couple of years, and then ultimately the United Way had some space that they were able to use.
“This would be a good, permanent, visible location for them to be in. It is an important service in our community. It is amazing how many people use the Job Center here in Marshfield in their search for a job.”
While the council would entertain appropriate tenants in the unoccupied space, discussion also centered on future opportunities that may fit within the vision the group has for the Community Center.
“Ultimately, one of the comments made was that we do not have to fill the space. There is going to be growth at some point. In two years there will be a need for something, so one of the ideas would be to keep part of the space unfinished and available for future use.
“I suspect it’ll be like everything: something in between. We’ll probably find one or two small tenants that will come in that will provide services to seniors or to the general public in a very accessible location, but we will also have space for future growth.”
In addition to the displaced Marshfield Senior Community Center program, other designated Community Center residents include the Marshfield Museum, which will inhabit the lower level, and the Parks & Recreation Department, which will oversee operations of the facility.