MARINETTE, Wis. (WBAY) - After decades of planning and fundraising, the Community Rec Center in Marinette is set to open its doors.
The $16 million facility has a lot to offer, and its impact on the community could be substantial.
On the eve of the Community Rec Center's grand opening, those behind the effort to build it are at a loss for words.
"Wow, I can't even give you the word that comes to my mouth," says Scott Wahl, a lifelong Marinette resident. "Yeah, it's been a long time,"
After being discussed in Marinette for more than 20 years, Wahl spent the last several years leading the charge to raise $6 million.
He says community support was tremendous.
"It was really just reaching out to families and companies and the people that we were affiliated with, and it just came together," says Wahl.
"It's been years in the making. We got a good group of people together to pull it all together and fund-raise, bring out the old plans that have been out there for years ,and finally get a very supportive council to bring it all together and fund it privately and through city municipal funds," says Marinette Mayor Steve Genisot.
The city-owned and operated 113,000 square foot facility features three distinct buildings all under one roof.
The Ice Center will be home to hockey, figure skating and curling.
The Convention Center will host expos and shows, along with basketball and tennis.
And the Turf Center will house baseball, softball and soccer, and eventually indoor track.
It all adds up to a lot of young athletes and their families from across the Upper Midwest spending time and money in Marinette.
"They're going to come visit the community. It's going to be an ability for most of our industries to recruit and say what you have for our kids and families to do. So, there's a whole host of opportunities and revenue that can come into the community," adds Genisot.
"You go to some other communities at least our size, and they might have an ice arena or they might have a turf center such as this, but to have these different amenities under one roof is pretty phenomenal and unprecedented," adds Gavin Scray, Community Rec Center executive director.
Friday's grand opening at the new Community Rec Center includes the kickoff of a three-day hockey tournament.