ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The day the Lincolnville community has been waiting for more than year will arrive Sunday, when residents and neighbors celebrate the official opening of their new community center.
Festivities will start at 6 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Dan Holub, chairman of the Marion County Board of Commissioners, and Scott Gutsch, Lincolnville mayor, will be among the dignitaries participating.
“We’re really proud of this project,” said City Clerk Jane Pigorsch.
The 100-foot-by-50-foot structure was built with the help of a $181,000 grant through the state’s KANSTEP program and a community contribution of $121,000 in materials and “sweat equity.”
The building includes an 80-foot-by-30-foot meeting room along with a full kitchen, two restrooms, a storage room and a safe room for storm protection.
The new building replaces Lincolnville’s former community center, which was on the verge of condemnation.
The old building was demolished during the Marion County Fair parade last August. Organizers intentionally picked that time to minimize the number of onlookers at the demolition site. Work on the new building began immediately.
From the beginning, core committee members have emphasized the center is for the entire community, not just the city. The center will fill a need in northern Marion County as a location for parties, wedding receptions, family reunions and meetings.
Pigorsch said the first official use of the center will be by Leadership Marion County, when it gathers Aug. 20. The next several weekends are booked with a class reunion, a pair of wedding receptions and an anniversary celebration.
Anyone interested in reserving the structure starting in October can call Lincolnville City Hall at 620-924-5208, or go to the Marion County Web site at www.marioncoks.net.
Sunday’s open house will include a meal of barbecued hamburgers and brats, plus baked beans, cake and drinks.
Pigorsch said Alex Stuchlik’s polka band has been invited to perform.
The public is invited to participate in the celebration.