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OneDenmark asks Denmark School Board for ECC

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OneDenmark members Pastor Andy Zoerb, Alan Mazna and Ryan Johanek presenting their request at last week's school board meeting.
Lead Summary

Organization makes formal request at meeting

By Jacob Heiser

Last week's Denmark School Board Meeting featured a historic and potentially community-altering request on behalf of OneDenmark. The meeting, held last Monday night at 6 p.m., was attended by nearly forty OneDenmark supporters and was held in the Performing Arts Center in the high school due to this added turnout.

OneDenmark, which strives to be a central "hub" between all the different organizations and individuals in the community, has recently set their sights on acquiring the soon-to-be-vacated ECC building to serve as a community center. Through a number of activities and events, they have gauged a need for a central community space for themselves and other organizations to operate. This summer, they held two informal listening sessions where they heard from community members about what they would want in a community center and also posed a prospective partnership with Brown County Library in order to return a branch to the village. At the last listening session, OneDenmark members urged supporters to attend the next meeting of the school board to show their support as the organization made their request.

Following presentations from DHS students (see September School Board Meeting), representatives from OneDenmark were invited to address the meeting. Pastor Andy Zoerb, Alan Mazna and Ryan Johanek presented on behalf of OneDenmark with Pastor Andy first thanking the board and all in attendance before introducing them and providing an overview of what their organization was all about. Zoerb explained the meaning behind their mission statement, "connect, belong, thrive", and what they had learned from their recent listening sessions about the future of the ECC. He then read a letter from a representative of the Brown County Library Board of Trustees expressing their enthusiasm for the community center project as well as their intention to join in if it comes to pass. Zoerb wrapped up his portion of the presentation by citing some of the wants and needs raised by community members at their listening sessions that could and would be addressed by a community center.

Alan Mazna then provided all in attendance with an overview of some of the many different activities OneDenmark has already been able to provide for the community including Inspired Grounds events, pickleball and art classes. Mazna said these events all clearly demonstrated a need and desire for a community space and their work could not fully continue without a designated location. He then stated that their organization was "formally asking the school board to turn over the ECC to OneDenmark to use as a community center". Ryan Johanek then described examples of ways OneDenmark would sustain the project if it were to move forward. Among revenue sources cited by Johanek were membership fees, space rental and public and private grants.

Following the presentation by OneDenmark, District Administrator Luke Goral thanked them for their time and assured them the board will address the issue in a timely manner. Before the close of the meeting, when the board was discussing items for the next agenda, Treasurer Teresa Kane suggested the matter be raised then with the rest of the board agreeing.

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