To a significant degree, Merrill’s history, character and identity is tied to its “built environment” — the buildings and structures defining the Lincoln County community carved from a wooded wilderness. How is Merrill’s built environment valued? Who decides what stands and what meets the backhoe, and how?
“Built or Blight: Revitalizing & Developing Merrill’s Buildings & Housing” is the next program of the Building Merrill Together initiative, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, in T.B. Scott Free Library’s Community Room.
Following a presentation moderated by John Greenwood of WIPPS, the audience is invited to discuss all aspects of this topic, including the city’s role in maintaining Merrill’s residential and commercial buildings, the relative emphasis on historical preservation versus new development, how prospective developers are encouraged, supported, and respected, and the process of removing buildings determined to have no future.
Presenters will include David Johnson, City Administrator of the City of Merrill, Merrill Zoning & Building Inspector Darin Pagel, and contractor Mark Raymer of rural Merrill.
Johnson will give a Powerpoint presentation of how the city of Merrill approaches the issue of blight, why it’s detrimental, and what the city is doing about it. His experience includes city administrator, county administrator and utility director positions. Johnson holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Purdue University and Indiana University.
Pagel has an up-close and personal involvement with Merrill’s built environment in his inspector’s role. He has a background in architecture and design, has been involved with the City of Merrill since 1991, and is a Wisconsin Certified Inspector in numerous categories for residential and commercial construction.
Raymer is a contractor and entrepreneur. Among his projects in the city, he recently restored a large commercial building on West Main Street.
Other developers and citizens passionate about the Merrill’s built environment have been invited to encourage a civil, open and meaningful discussion. This is your opportunity to express to city officials how you feel about the city’s buildings past, present and future.
Refreshments will be provided, with support from The Checkered Churn and First Street Coffee Station.
For those interested in continuing this conversation and planning future conversations, you’re invited to the next Concerned Citizens Group meeting at T.B. Scott Library on Thursday, March 23, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The Building Merrill Together initiative, co-supported by T.B. Scott Free Library, the Interactivity Foundation (IF), and the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy & Service (WIPPS), aims to stir government, business, and the general public to positively change Merrill through information and discussion, and by creating an open and transparent environment for change.
For more information, visit www.tbscottlibrary.com or call 715-536-9171.