After nearly four years of planning, fundraising, design and construction, the City of Wakefield, Nebraska today celebrated the grand opening of the brand new, $1.5 million multi-purpose Wakefield Civic Center.
At 12,280 square feet, the Civic Center offers an abundance of space for hosting community events, meetings, conferences and activities. It comes equipped with a 350-seat banquet room, a kitchen and meeting room sizes — decked out with the latest technology to accommodate guests’ needs.
The fully ADA accessible Civic Center will also serve as the new home of the Wakefield Senior Center, with plenty of room for meals, socializing and activities.
“This is an exciting day,” said Jim Litchfield, Wakefield City Administrator. “The people of Wakefield and all of our partners rallied together to bring this project to life, and we’re proud to be here to commemorate the grand opening. The Civic Center is a much-needed addition to our community, and is going to have a tremendous impact.”
Planning for the Civic Center began in 2015, with support from a $10,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Development (DED) under the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund (CCCFF). The CCCFF offers State aid for the planning and development of civic, community and recreation centers. The City went on to receive an additional CCCFF grant for $375,000 to support construction costs.
“This tremendous project required a unified effort, hard work and dedication,” said DED Director Dave Rippe. “And, look at the result. Wakefield has created an amenity that will pay great dividends for years to come. Not just as an event space, but in terms of strengthening the community; attracting visitors and residents; fostering a sense of place. Supporting projects that strengthen and grow Nebraska communities is the essence of our goal for the CCCFF program.”
In addition to its CCCFF grants, the City received a generous donation of $1,050,000 from the Gardner Foundation to make the Civic Center a reality. Moreover, local philanthropists Tim and Leslie Bebee donated the facility property.
Construction began in the fall of 2017, and consisted of a complete renovation to the building donated by the Bebee family, plus a new 6,500 square foot addition. By last November, the facility was in its finishing stages.
Wakefield Mayor Paul Eaton, project leaders and supporters, and representatives from DED were on hand today to celebrate and conduct the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Today’s event was not the only ribbon cutting to take place in Wakefield in recent weeks. Last month, Governor Ricketts, economic development leaders and local stakeholders joined residents to celebrate the completion of Project Home Plate — one of Nebraska’s first housing projects to be completed using funds from the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act. That project was one of the first of many that will support Wakefield’s efforts to attract and retain a robust local workforce.
“We’re proud of all we have been able to accomplish in our community, and are incredibly hopeful and optimistic for the future,” Litchfield said. “Working together, there’s so much more we can and will achieve.”
For more information about the CCCFF program or Project Home Plate, visit opportunity.nebraska.gov.