Local not-for-profit wants to buy Merrill Community Center building

MCC closed Nov. 1 due to lack of funding
Local not-for-profit wants to buy Merrill Community Center building

People who live near the Merrill Community Center building said Thursday they were excited about the prospect of another organization taking it over.

Community Action Inc. Deputy Director Lynn Jones said the not-for-profit has made an offer to buy the building and is talking with the MCC board of directors. Community Action offers programs to fight poverty in Rock and Walworth counties.

“I hope whoever gets it does good with it,” Ann Haynes, who lives near the center, said.

The Merrill Community Center closed Nov. 1 due to a lack of funding and after a failed merger with the Stateline Family YMCA.

“It’s empty. It’s just a wasted lot. It’s just gone,” Haynes said.

The center had offered after-school programs for children and activities for senior citizens since 2004.

“We want it to be an active center,” Rita Berkshire, who lives nearby, said. “We want it to be very good for the neighborhood and the city.”

Neighbors said the community building played an important role in the area.

“I think it helps keep the kids out of trouble,” Haynes said. “It just gives them something to do, and now you don’t see nothing. It’s just empty.”

In a previous interview , the vice president of the Merrill Community Center board of directors said two nonprofit organizations had put in offers to buy the building.

“Both of them are wonderful nonprofit agencies that are established and will be great stewards to the community and neighbors to be around,” Therese Mueller-McLain had said. “We’re really excited about the prospects going forward.”

She originally said a new organization would move into the building by January or February, but according to Jones, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is involved and there are some details that still need to be worked out before a final offer can be approved.

“I hope they move in before the end of the month is up because I would like to see somebody in there,” Cyndi Bosley, who lives near the center, said.

Mueller-McLain said the Merrill Community Center board will make an announcement when an offer is finalized and a new organization takes over the building.