The Town of Wood River are expecting to have their new Town Hall up and running this Spring. Town officials are eager to move on a yet to be determined date.
The improvements from the former town hall are focused on added space and comfort.
Wood River Town Chairman Ron Burg told the Sentinel some of the improvements include comfort for election workers, remove burden on clerk/treasurer on storing office materials at home, storage of town documents and an ability to hold community events.
The former building did not have heat which meant the town clerk would have to store the town voting machines at their home along with paperwork.
Last summer, the over 100-year-old, former school building was demolished so construction could begin on the site of the new town hall.
“The former building has stood the test of time for over 100 years and was nearing the end of its useful life,” Burg commented.
Burg said there were many issues with the building including no running water and septic system being primary in the decision.
Burg was elected Town Chairman a few months after the new town hall was approved. He told the Sentinel he agreed with the decision.
Former Town Chairman Joel Johnson said in Nov. 2018 that the town hall needed to be replaced or the town would “stay in the 19th Century.” He also defined the building as antiquated.
Architect Craig Selander designed the building with attached town shop for storage needs. Town electors approved raising the levy limit to $66,655 for 20 years. Total cost of the project is currently slated to cost around $700,000.
Wood River received a loan of $878,000 to help pay for the building Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL). State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski made a trip to Wood River last year to explain the loan.
Godlewski said, “The BCPL is providing critical financing that is making a difference across Wisconsin. I am glad we can play a role in helping communities like Wood River complete the projects they need. As Chair of this agency, it’s also my top priority to ensure strong financial returns that support over a million school children around the state. This funding allows local librarians, like those in Webster, purchase needed books and technology while relieving the burden on local property taxpayers.”
Burg added, “The best part of the loan program is that interest paid is distributed annually to fund public school library materials. When the loan was issued, Senator Patty Schactner and Godlewski visited our town hall site and then immediately departed for an elementary school in Webster to acknowledge the benefits the loan program is providing.”
Between the demolition of the former town hall and the new town hall being completed where has the town conducted business?
“The Town of Grantsburg has graciously allowed us to conduct our meetings in their space and Calvary Covenant has provided their lower level for elections,” Burg said. “2020 had four separate elections that took place in the church.”
Next Spring there will be an open house when the Town Hall opens. Burg said he has been getting questions about when the building will be completed.