Royal Credit Union donates $500,000 to Freedom Park Center
“I support the VFW. I support our veterans. My vote is yes.”
With those words, in July 2018, New Richmond Mayor Mayor Fred Horne cast the deciding vote (4-3) to transfer 5.11 acres in Freedom Park to VFW Post 10818 New Richmond/St. Croix County for the construction of the $4.3 million dollar Freedom Park Center.
On Thursday, Sept. 29, the Royal Credit Union Foundation made a $500,000 gift dedicated to the construction of Freedom Park Center.
“The RCU Foundation has history of supporting community centers like Freedom Park Center. We recognize that having spaces in a community where people can come together to learn, to recreate, and to build connections is vital to fostering relationships and creating a vibrant community for everyone,” said John Sackett, RCU Foundation president.
The 17,400-square-foot public/private partnership overlooking Hatfield Lake will include a Veterans Center, Senior Center and Community Event Center and will offer a commercial kitchen, a concession stand and meeting rooms for public use.
The RCU donation is one more demonstration of the power of partnership so essential to the completion of this project.
Each summer since 2018, alerted by the overnight pitching of a city of tents, residents have welcomed the soldiers on whose shoulders Freedom Park Center is being built as part of the Dept. of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training program.
This unique partnership pairs soldiers with local contractors whose hands-on instruction guides and prepares soldiers in a multitude of disciplines from engineering and surveying to heavy equipment operation, masonry, electrical and plumbing all in service of providing key services with lasting benefits for American communities.
“Every dollar of the RCU Foundation’s donation will be used to provide materials for the soldiers to complete Freedom Park Center,” explained Ken House, Chair of the Freedom Park Center building committee. “This is the largest military construction project ever attempted in the state of Wisconsin.”
Of the estimated $4.3 million dollar budget for the project, the military labor contribution is estimated to be worth 50-60% of that cost.
House is projecting more than 1,000 soldiers, both men and women, will have contributed to the construction of the center by the time it is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2023.
“The RCU Foundation saw how Freedom Park Center will be a valuable asset to the New Richmond community,” said Jim Zajkowski, Mayor of New Richmond and member of the Freedom Park Center planning committee. “They stepped up and believed in the project, which will benefit veterans, seniors and youth in our community. They hit a home run for New Richmond.”