HURLEY - The revitalized Iron County Memorial Building hosts the 19th annual installation banquet tonight for the Hurley and Ironwood Area chambers of commerce, featuring special guest Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
For Gov. Walker to come up to Iron County to talk with us and spend time with us is very important," Dorrene O'Donnell, executive director of the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce, said. "We value what he brings to our area and it shows that we are not forgotten up here. That speaks volumes about the man."
O'Donnell said having Walker attend the banquet works well with his platform on job creation, and will help not only Iron County, but Ironwood, as well, because "we are such strong border communities.
"He has helped us with legislation," O'Donnell said. "It is such an important time in his administration, a day after his State of the State address. It shows that we are in the radar and will continue to be in the radar. We are going to work extremely hard to keep putting this community out there, and events like this help that."
It's been two years since the Memorial Building in Hurley has hosted the event, with many changes taking place since.
With financial donations totaling $70,000, the Iron County Memorial Building Restoration Committee has been able to upgrade much of the building over the past few years, including painting, installing new lights, putting in a new bar, installing new windows, remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms, installing carpeting and tile in locations and repairing the wiring, chimney, doors and other facets of the building.
"This is a building that is needed and should be taken care of," Dorothy Walesewicz, fundraising chair for the committee, said. "It is certainly being supported by the community."
Future restoration projects include acoustic panels and new flooring in the main hall and upgrading the outside of the building, including cleaning of stucco, repairing sidewalks and painting.
The building is owned by the county, and the lease recently came under the responsibility of the restoration committee.
Fifteen events have already been booked for the building for 2014, with a few more in 2015.
According to Walesewicz, the public is encouraged to rent the facility for weddings, fund-raisers, meetings and banquets.
"It feels great to have the building coming around. Great to have it, great to be able to use it. Great to keep going in the project," Walesewicz said. "It's not just the restoration committee, it's the whole community. I just really feel that building needs to be saved. It certainly is coming around and being used. I always saw that we are a community, not of numbers, but of hearts."
To learn more about the Iron County Memorial Building Restoration Committee or the building, call Joe or Dorothy Walesewicz at 715-561-2459.