By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – The last portion of Marshfield’s new public library project opened Dec. 12, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 2nd Street Community Center.
The center is the former Marshfield Public Library, which has now been renovated, after the new Everett Roehl library opened in November of last year. Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer called the new community center “an amazing facility” that brings to an end a vision that began over 20 years ago.
“In 1996, the Library Board of Trustees purchased a shed and that was the first step towards acquiring property around the library for future expansion,” Meyer said. “In 2005, when I got involved in local government, as a city council member, I was fortunate to serve on the Library Board of Trustees. When I was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees, I really didn’t know what that meant. I assumed that it had something to do with the library.
“So, I came to the meetings, and I very quickly learned about the Blue Sky project. The Blue Sky project was a phrase, I believe we gave credit to Russ Stauber for the naming of the Blue Sky project, because it was the idea that once we have the land around the library and we could start fundraising, the sky is really the limit.”
Fundraising for the library and community center project began in June 2013, with a goal of $4 million. Dr. William Hocking, who served as one of six fundraising co-chairs, said there were doubts that those initial fundraising goals could be met.
“We’re standing here today, in this new 2nd Street Community Center, and we’re standing next to the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library, and we’re doing that because of (the) really remarkable generosity of the people and the businesses in this community,” Hocking said.
“We completed our fundraising in September of 2015 and raised just over $5.3 million. And, the remarkable thing about that is, that’s all out of this community. This wasn’t outside dollars – there really weren’t people outside of the city of Marshfield that wanted to support this project. That really all came out of our community.”
The city of Marshfield contributed $3 million to the overall project. The community center is now home to the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, the local job center office, Senior Center activities, and the Marshfield Historical Preservation Museum.
The renovated space also includes new kitchen facilities, a large meeting room for special dinners, a classroom, an exercise room, a conference room, along with undesignated space for future additions. It also features an indoor connector to the new public library next door.
For a photo tour, visit the 2nd Street Community Center photo gallery.