The community center of Marquette (pop. 242) was built in 1900 and constantly demanded repairs. Maintaining the center had become so expensive that a 2004 Community Needs Assessment Survey found that it topped Marquette residents’ wish lists. Simply, they wanted and needed a more efficient, spacious, and aesthetically pleasing center. Many community members sought to book events outside of the community, which drastically decreased Marquette’s activity.
Excitement throughout the community was substantial when the new community center was constructed during the fall of 2010, and finally opened its doors during the spring of 2011. According to the Marquette Village Clerk, “This is a great and much needed facility for our community; it has been a long time coming.” Local donations poured in and readily supported construction of the center.
A Nebraska Department of Economic Development Community Development Block Grant provided $187,000 in funds to the project, with the remaining $64,000 matched by the community and the Marquette Rural Fire Board.
Built on a vacant lot, the new Marquette Community Center is attached to the Rural Fire Barn. The center has given the community of Marquette a new face, as well as dramatically increased the positive attitude of the community. Of the 242 residents of Marquette, 132 of the benefitted community members are low-to-moderate income persons.
The new center can be rented out to residents for a multitude of different occasions, including wedding receptions, birthdays, and meetings. The amount of social events held at the center has increased because the center is liked so much by the community.