The Town of Merrill showed off its new community center Sunday to a large group of area residents.
The new facility, which is nearing completion at W4594 Progress Avenue off Highway K, will not only serve as the offices for the Town, it also sports a large community room that can be rented for events and can accommodate up to 300 people. In addition to the spacious open hall area, the facility features a large kitchen area and covered outside patio area.
Supervisor Scott Voigt said that as the largest township in Lincoln County with over 3,000 people, a central office location was long overdue.
“It’s not safe to run it (township government) out of your house anymore,” Voigt said. “Not in this day and age.”
While the township offices are still in the process of moving into the facility and setting up office hours, some government functions such as tax collection are already taking place from the building, said Supervisor Stacy Pettit. She said that the existing phone numbers for the Town offices have been transferred already.
Town meetings are already scheduled to take place in the building.
Mike Matushak, acting Town Chairman said the new building has been over six years in the planning stages, with construction starting last year. Matushak said the revenue that rentals of the community center will bring into the Town coffers was a nice added benefit of the project.
“It’s ready to use, but we still have some outside concerns that have been held up by the weather,” Matushak said. “We hope to have those finished very soon and the blacktop put in later this year.”
He said while a final cost of the building hasn’t been tallied yet, the project is well within the $600,000 budget the Long Range Planning Committee set.
One member of the committee was absent from the celebration, but was there in spirit. Lincoln County Clerk Bob Kunkel was a member of the committee up until his death last year. To commemorate his service to the Town, a handcrafted wooden bench was dedicated Sunday in his honor.
While some outside cosmetic touches still need to be finished, the community hall is available for renting now. Rental forms and information can be picked up at the Town Hall or on their website, www.townofmerrill.net.