Village Eyes Repurposing Former Bank Building for Municipal & Community Use
09/05/2019- The proposed renovation of a 10000 square-foot facility in the heart of Wausaukee could bring new life to the community and some of its most essential services. Earlier this year, a feasibility study completed by Cedar Corporation determined the former Stephenson National Bank and Trust building could in fact be transformed into a multi-purpose facility housing an expanded library, Village offices, and community center. Sara Pullen is the Village Clerk/Treasurer and she says the project would not only return the building to a productive use, but would also serve the community and its residents and keep the downtown viable and by and large, residents seem to have gotten on board with the plan.
“They definitely don’t want to see a building that size empty in our downtown. They wanted us to know that they fully support the Village moving forward with protecting our library and giving them a larger space. They wanted to see expanded WiFi and computer network space for people in the community because there are a lot of our residents don’t have internet access, so that would become a really important function, I think.”
The work could cost as much as $1.3 million, but, Pullen says, much of that could be covered by a state grant and county funds specifically allocated for projects in low income communities.
“We would apply for a public facilities grant in 2020…We would have to come up with our match dollars, and for that portion of our match dollars, we would apply, and have already spoken with County Administrator John Lefebvre and let him know our interest in getting a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) close program grant award from the county. We were hoping to get enough to cover our portion of the match and hopefully this project would be done completely and totally through grant dollars.”
In the meantime, the Village is moving forward with the design phase of the project. If Wausaukee is awarded both the state and local grants they’re seeking, Pullen says the renovation could be complete by the Spring of 2021.