Army soldiers helping build a new community center for veterans, seniors and youth
U.S. Army Reserve soldiers are hard at work helping to build the Freedom Park Center, a new building in New Richmond, Wisconsin that will house services for veterans, seniors and youth in Western Wisconsin.
It’s hands-on training for U.S. Army Reserve construction engineers, who train under the supervision of local contractors and city officials.
“We get to hone our skills and we get to learn new skills,” said First Sgt. Travis Zabinski, of the 327th Engineer Company.
It’s one of three sites in the U.S. where the Pentagon partners with communities to offer soldiers innovative readiness training by building projects, according to Freedom Park Center organizers.
After years of planning and fundraising, the foundation is on the ground for the new 17,000-square-foot center, which plans to open in 2024.
“It’s good for the community, to see this, to see the soldiers out here, to see the soldiers from this area,” said Troy Hill, an Army veteran and a member of the New Richmond/St. Croix County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10818, who is helping lead fundraising efforts. “The VFW here in New Richmond is unique — We are geared toward community.”
Hill feels the new center will bring in different generations with unique life experiences together under one roof, which will help the entire community.
New Richmond is one of the fastest-growing communities in St. Croix County.
“This is a marvelous thing for our community,” said Mayor Jim Zajkowski. “It’s been a labor of love for these guys and it’s moving forward.”
Part of the Freedom Park Center plans calls for providing health and mental wellness services for this part of Western Wisconsin, which the Mayor said is needed.
The VFW is still trying to raise around $1 million to help finish the project.
The GoFundMe can be found here.