City named as finalist for Economic Development Award
Friday afternoon, the city of Merrill announced its nomination as one of three finalists for a Community Economic Development Award in the category of Real Estate and Redevelopment by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA). The awards ceremony will be on Sept. 14, 2016 at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison.
The nomination reads in part: “The City of Merrill has made blight elimination and downtown revitalization a top priority for the past six years. They have not only invested in a plan for the redevelopment of Downtown on the East side, as well as the central business district on the West side, City officials under the leadership of Mayor Bill Bialecki, City Administrator Dave Johnson, and City Finance Director Kathy Unertl have led the Redevelopment Authority in incremental activities which are accumulating into measurable improvements in terms of increased tax base, enhanced community aesthetics, increased amenities, and increased private sector investment.”
Nomination for this award recognizes the current Administration’s efforts to make Merrill a better place to live, work and visit. Demolition projects including the Lincoln House, former Page Milk property, Wire Products Property, former Anson Gilkey property, Kamke property, Courtview Apartments, and portions of the former Hurd property, along with numerous tax delinquent blighted residential properties, has done much to change the complexion of Merrill. These efforts have worked hand-in-hand with the City’s Blight Elimination Program that has strived to have blighted residential and commercial properties improved. This has included painting, new siding, roofs, replacement windows, replacement doors, facade renovation, and trash removal from the property.
A new fire station, River Bend Trail, and Bierman Family Aquatic Center, as well as a new Enrichment Center currently under construction all enhance the quality of life in our community. The soon to be built downtown Pocket Park is a further commitment to revitalizing the downtown. The soon to be built apartments on the former Fox Point property, and apartments next to the MARC will provide needed quality housing and add to the City’s tax base.
“Whether or not Merrill wins this award, being nominated is recognition that we as a City are doing the right things,” Johnson added of the nomination.