Mayors Monday: Merrill's Derek Woellner

MERRILL, WI (WSAU) -- The group organizing a new skate park in the City of Merrill is ready to move to the fundraising stage of the project, despite uncertainty for many as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

Mayor Derek Woellner says the special committee made up of parks and recreation leaders in the city, skateboard enthusiasts, and others have approved plans for the park, with an estimated price tag of $1.5 to $2 million.

"Not great timing with the COVID-19 [outbreak], but I think it will still work out. It may just stretch the timeline out a little bit because people are hurting financially," said Woellner. "[For many] there's not as much money to donate to charity but I'm still optimistic it'll get done in the next few years."

With that in mind, Woellner says he doesn't expect groundbreaking for the project to happen anytime soon. He does plan to propose a matching fund program for the park using city funds to encourage businesses and individuals to start the fund. "Our budget is pretty tight, but it would help incentive things. That way as an individual you know if you donate $100, you're really putting $200 towards it."

That plan would need approval from the full city council before it's implemented.

Woellner says the park will be one of the biggest of its kind in the area. The project was one of the first big-ticket items he took on as Mayor after winning a four-year term in 2018. He says he'd still like to see the city embrace disc golf as well, a sport that he is very passionate about himself.

Other topics Woellner discussed with WSAU's Mike Leischner include:

Start of video- City's response to COVID-19 and how prepared officials are for a potential resurgence of the virus.

10:00- Closing the city pool and Woellner's decision to cancel the city's fireworks show

17:28- Update on the city's Skate Park and Disc Golf plans