2016 was a busy year for the City of Marshfield. Though the City was able to accomplish many of its goals, three of the most significant were the completion of the new Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library, the 2nd Street corridor project, and the multi-part transaction with Forward Financial and Gorman facilitating progress towards a new City Hall.
Opening in September and celebrating with a grand opening event in November, the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library was the culmination of years of planning, fundraising, and construction. At a cost of slightly over $7 million, a majority ($4+ million) was secured through private fundraising.
“This state-of-the-art facility was the dream and vision of so many people for nearly a decade, and it’s finally a reality, and a terrific community facility,” said Steve Barg, City Administrator.
The second major project, the upgrade of 2nd Street from Maple Avenue to Chestnut Avenue, originated from a suggestion in the 2013 Downtown Master Plan update. Intended to offer a pedestrian-friendly environment and to draw more people into the downtown area to access retail and service businesses, the project was completed in autumn 2016.
Last, but not least, in a somewhat complex transaction, the City bought the Forward Financial property at Chestnut Avenue and West 6th Street, and sold the current City Hall. With plans to convert the 7-story building into apartments, Gorman bought the former City Hall building. Forward Financial is building a new $16 million facility near the intersection of North Central Avenue/Ives Avenue. According to Barg, all parties involved expect to occupy the buildings purchased/constructed sometime in 2018.
All of these accomplishments were the result of hard-working individuals.
“With respect to the library, it would be impossible to say enough thanks to all of those people who worked tirelessly to make this project happen,” said Barg. “This includes the many volunteers who served on committees, the capital campaign team, Library Director Lori Belongia and her team, many other city staff, our project architect (Zimmerman), our construction manager (Boson), and the Mayor and City Council who provided the required City funding and approvals throughout the process.”
Barg also offered special thanks to City engineering and planning staff who designed the 2nd Street corridor project in conjunction with landscape architect Randy Lueth and the City’s elected officials.
He also praised all involved with the complicated City Hall transaction.
“We’re grateful for representatives of Forward Financial and Gorman for hanging in there throughout the negotiations process in what at times seemed like a game of dominoes, as the various pieces were very much interconnected,” he said.
With the library and 2nd Street corridor supplying nice amenities, the Forward Financial building providing an additional tax base, and new housing resulting from the creation of 40 apartments at the former city hall, Barg notes that all of these projects have a positive effect on Marshfield and its citizens.
Moving into 2017, the City has goals to renovate the former library into the new community center and to construct the Wenzel Family Plaza (the new downtown park planned on land across from the post office). Along with these projects, other challenges in the new year include fundraising for major street work and striving to better engage citizens.
“I’d just like to say that Marshfield is a really wonderful community, but to make it everything that it could be, we need help from all of our residents,” he said. “We encourage people to make a commitment in 2017 to getting involved in some new and exciting way, whether that’s joining an active civic group, volunteering to help those in need, or possibly being open to getting on a city committee.”
Barg hopes more citizens will take an active interest in City government, as a greater level of public input and participation is needed.
“Your efforts will be appreciated, and they’ll have an impact on those around you,” he said.
To get involved in 2017, contact City Administrator Steve Barg at [email protected] or by calling 715-387-6597.