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Rhinelander more than halfway to fundraising goal for phase one of Hodag Park improvement project

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Katie Thoresen
Rhinelander is more than half way to its fundraising goal to begin phase one of the Hodag Park improvement project.

The City of Rhinelander has big plans Hodag Park, and it starts with new amphitheater.

People from the city and community that have been working towards improvements to the park gathered on Friday to give an update on the fundraising efforts.

“We’ve got fundraising yet to do, the barometer to finish, about $82,000 in community fundraiser left to go,” said City Administrator Zach Vruwink.

Hodag Park Update 1.jpg
Katie Thoresen
City Administrator Zach Vruwink fills in the barometer for the fundraising goal for the Hodag Park improvement project.

Community members have been working since 2017 to create a plan to update the park.

Janet Jamison was an original member of the task force.

“I think that Hodag Park has been identified just a jewel of the city of Rhinelander and it’s really exciting to see this project very near completion and have a place for our community to be able to gather together and celebrate different events here,” said Jamison.

The city has committed $100,000 to the project. An anonymous donor pledged to match up to $100,000 raised by community members.

So far, the community has raised roughly $118,000 getting the city closer to its $400,000 goal to start phase one.

GFWC Rhinelander Woman’s Club is one of those community groups that have contributed to the project so far, donating $10,000.

“We love this place, many of us grew up here in Rhinelander. We just feel it’s a jewel, a treasure for the community. We’re very excited to move things forward and extend many more opportunities to the townspeople,” said Cindy Goll, the Woman’s Club President.

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Katie Thoresen
Rhinelander Community Foundation President Gina Heck, original park task force member Janet Jamison, Mayor Chris Frederickson, GWFC Rhinelander Woman's Club President Cindy Goll, and ArtStart Community and Cultural Development Director Melinda Childs update the community on fundraising efforts for the Hodag Park improvement project.

The overall goal of the improvement project is to add amenities that make Hodag Park a place community members want to gather.

Melinda Childs is the community and cultural development director for ArtStart in partnership with Nicolet College.

“Anytime we can activate our public spaces with more gathering spaces and performance spaces and opportunities for the community to come together, it’s an exciting thing,” said Childs. “We have noticed throughout the pandemic, and I think this will continue that there’s a need for more outdoor space for the community to come together. This is just a great opportunity to do that.”

The Rhinelander Community Foundation is collecting the donations for the park.

The $400,000 will cover Phase One costs. That includes the amphitheater and ADA accessible pathways to it.

The city hopes to reach its goal by the end of this year so that construction can start in the spring.

If all goes well, the construction will be complete next summer.

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