Marshfield (OnFocus) – The much-awaited aquatic center in Marshfield became one step closer to reality yesterday. Even the sweltering heat could not keep away approximately 50 people, as the town anxiously awaited the groundbreaking.
“It’s because of the effort of this community, again, the citizens, the business community, the local government, that we’re able to make projects like this come together,” said Scott Larson, president of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MACCI) in his opening remarks. He spoke about how the project flowed with Marshfield’s new branding, “Marshfield Made New.”
Mayor Bob McManus said support from the community has been overwhelming. The project, he said, raised more money in COVID than it did prior to that time, showing the love of the gracious citizens of Marshfield. The idea for the project, he said, started about 20 years ago and really “took on some steam” about four years ago.
McManus spoke about the beginnings of the Hefko Pool, which opened in the depression years of the early 1930s. The year the pool was to originally open, 1943, Marshfield found itself in the middle of a drought, pushing the pool opening from June to August of that year.
“Even through the depression, they found a way to get it done,” he said. “The resilience of the people was, really, really incredible. That resilience we saw as we came into this aquatic center that we have now, and we are not lost on the history that is here. We thank the Hefko Pool for everything that has been done.”
McManus and Tom Witzel, president of the Marshfield Common Council, unveiled the new name of the aquatic center, which will be called Vandehey Waters. Witzel showed the crowd his original season pass for Hekfo Pool, now 40 years old.
“As the lights go down on Hefko, there’s a new day in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Marshfield Made New,” McManus said, adding how both the Hefko Pool and Vandehey Waters were created during a time of great strife and struggle for the community, providing a light and so much enjoyment for the community.
Jon and Anette Vandehey donated over $1 million in honor of Jon’s parents Frank and Patricia Vandehey after learning the project may be put on hold for another year.
Stacey Schultz of the Marshfield Area Community Foundation said the first donation she received was July 30 of last year, that someone came to her with a $50 donation, simply saying, “I believe in this project and I want to see a new pool.” Since then, 200 more people have donated and shown support for the aquatic center.
Marshfield Parks and Recreation director Justin Casperson said the project would go out to bids in the next 30 days and residents would start to notice construction, with the timeline to be completed in 12 months.
A virtual tour of the new facility can be found here.
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