River District Development Foundation hosts 10th Anniversary celebration
Music, food, raffles, and candlelight walk planned
TINA L. SCOTT
The Friends of the River Bend Trail (RBT) are hosting an event to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the River District Development Foundation. The event, which is open to the public and will be held rain or shine, begins at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at the Agra Pavilion, 404 S. Park St. in Merrill.
“A social will kick off the event with music provided by Mark Robl,” a press release said. “Food and drinks will be served, followed by a candlelight walk. To add to the fun, area businesses and organizations have provided raffles for this event.”
The event will also include a special dedication of Rotary Park, the trailhead of the River Bend Trail which was made possible by Rotary Club of Merrill, and a campfire will be provided in case attendees wish to bring supplies and equipment for smores, the release said.
According to the release, “The River District Development Foundation was formed in 2011 with its mission to provide resources that allow all Merrill area citizens to take part in the enrichment and enjoyment of the precious spaces along the community’s beautiful river corridors. In the last 10 years, with the leadership of the River District Development Foundation of Merrill, three phases of the River Bend Trail have been completed, providing 5.5 paved miles of trail highlighting the beautiful Wisconsin River and providing a paved pathway through the City of Merrill.”
A large portion of the trail follows the path of an abandoned railroad track. “Thankfully a group of Merrill citizens had a vision for the abandoned railroad, and now we have a gem of a trail for all to use and enjoy our amazing riverfront,” said John Kohn, River District Development Foundation President. “The River District Development Foundation, Friends of the River Bend Trail, and donors have worked extremely hard to achieve something special. Our thanks to all.”
The 10th Anniversary celebration was organized via a partnership between the Friends of the River Bend Trail and Merrill High School (MHS) DECA and business classes. MHS Senior Elizabeth Schmidt, who is the DECA/Business Club President and a Student Board Member for the Friends of the River Bend Trail, served as the event’s Project Manager. This involved developing the event plan, marketing, soliciting donations, organizing volunteers and activities, and collaborating with community partners to make the event successful, she explained.
Other students provided support designing and creating maps, donor banners, and recognition materials, as well as 10th Anniversary RBT merchandise. In addition, they designed and created marketing materials and worked with community partners, such as Steve Resnick, General Manager of Sunrise Broadcasting, LLC, to write and record radio advertisements for the event.
The partnership gave students practical, hands-on experience in skills they learned about in Marketing, Principles of Sales, and Intro to Business classes and allowed students to earn dual credit through both MHS and Northcentral Technical College.
Students also donated handcrafted items for raffle and door prizes.
“We’d like to thank all the sponsors over the years and those who made this event possible,” organizers say. “Come join us at the event to truly celebrate a community united to creating a Merrill landmark 10 years in the making.”
To learn more about supporting the trail and to receive updates on trail activities, visit www.riverbendtrail.org or look for the River Bend Trail page on Facebook.