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Small city, big investments: More than $25 million going to Park Falls community through state grant programs

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Katie Thoresen
Governor Tony Evers hands a $20 million check over to Marshfield Clinic Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Euclide.

In lobby of the newly constructed Forward Bank in downtown Park Falls, Governor Tony Evers hands over a large check to the Marshfield Medical Center-Park Falls.

“I’ve been giving out big checks for some time here over the last couple of weeks. That’s a big check,” said Evers.

The medical group is receiving $20 million to be used to update its hospital facilities in Park Falls.

A flood of state funding in Park Falls is helping the community move forward.

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Katie Thoresen
Governor Evers hands over a check for more than $5.6 million to Anne Plessner, YMCA of the Northwoods CEO Ryan Zietlow, and Park Falls Mayor Michael Bablick.

Last week, WXPR reported the city received a $5.6 million grant to build a YMCA.

Wednesday, Evers announced the $20 million headed to the area through the Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Investment Grant Program.

That program, as well as the one for the YMCA grant, is funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“Lots of folks in Northern Wisconsin will access these services that both provide,” said Evers. “It’s important not just for Park Falls, but it’s important for the area it serves in Northern Wisconsin.”

The hospital was built in the 1960s and in need of major upgrades, according to Kirk Dunlap, a senior project manager with Marshfield Clinic.

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Marshfield Medical Center
The original boilers in the MMC-Park Falls hospital that have been converted multiple times from their original coal burning capabilities.

“Those boilers used to be coal fired and they’re still there. We’re still using them. We hope when we get back they’re still working,” he said.

Dunlap says the grant amount was above their expectations.

The project will modernize the hospital and enhance the quality of care for patients in the region.

Three of the five buildings on the hospital campus were built in the 60s. Those are going to be torn down.

“We’re replacing it with a new, consolidated addition. We’re going to bring this wonderful hospital, well maintained, really good care, we’re going to bring it up to a modern facility that will functionally serve the patients and the team and also have the infrastructure to serve it efficiently,” said Dunlap.

While money is going to Marshfield Clinic, Dunlap says it’s also an investment in Park Falls, especially when it comes time for people considering if they want to stay or move to the area.

“Healthcare is a big part of ‘Will this community serve my needs?’ We have good healthcare, but we’re going to give that team the facility and infrastructure and tools to do it even better,” said Dunlap.

Between the two grants, a lot of people gathered for Evers’ visit commented on the excitement it’s generating for the city.

It’s part of the forward momentum Mayor Michael Bablick says the city has built over the last couple of years.

“We’re a town of 2,500 people. We have a phenomenal library. We have a clinic. We have a hospital. We have a good school district. We have a lot of things to offer people. We just need a place for them to live and we’re quickly approaching a place for them to have their children during the day while they’re at work,” said Bablick. “There’s still a lot more work to be done, but we’re in a much better place today than we were three years ago on a lot of these fronts.”

Marshfield Clinic plans to break ground on its project this summer.

The YMCA of the Northwoods is in the planning stages its new facility.

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