Community square to be named after longtime Marshfield family
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Naming rights for the community square planned for Marshfield’s downtown have been granted to the Wenzel family, creators of Wenzel’s Farm Sausage, following a substantial donation through the Russell R. Wenzel Public Park Fund and the Harry J. and Violet Wenzel family. The square will be known as the Wenzel Family Plaza.
The Wenzel family came to Wisconsin from Germany over 100 years ago, bringing along with them their craft of making sausage. They later established a successful business in Marshfield, which spanned four generations.
“Our parents, Harry and Violet, and our brother, Russ, have been active in the Marshfield community all of their lives, and we are proud the Wenzel family’s latest contribution will be a family-focused gathering place in our hometown,” Judy and Nancy Wenzel said in a joint statement.
“The gift of the Wenzel family means a ton to this project,” said Marshfield’s Director of Development Services Jason Angell. “We are very happy to display the family name in this type of project.
“The whole purpose of the project was to create a space to welcome families to our downtown area, not just for adults but for multigenerational activities. To have the Wenzel family step forward and put their name on this means a lot to us and the community as they have done so much for the community over the years.”
The community square is the result of previous city master plans, one developed in 1997 and one in 2014.
“They both called for a community gathering space, or green space, downtown,” said Angell.
After obtaining public feedback, a proposal for the community square was developed using property situated just east of the Chestnut Center for the Arts and the Marshfield Post Office that had long stood vacant.
The city’s contribution and matching funds from the Economic Development Board, having already been allocated, make up $400,000 of the $1.3 million project, which will include a performance stage, splash pad and ice skating rink, and two dining areas. The remaining $900,000 was intended to be raised through private funds and grants.
“Right now we are at about $450,000 in private contributions,” said Angell. “For those donations or commitments we have received already, the majority of them are families. There are some businesses, but as the families started coming forward more, we thought this was really what it’s about. To have Wenzel family splashed across the front entrance and to also have other families putting their name in prominent locations is really going to reflect the purpose of this space.”
“We hope the community square will be a catalyst for further development downtown. We also extend our thanks to the other individuals and businesses supporting this development and to the community leaders who are dedicated to making it a reality,” Judy and Nancy Wenzel said.
“The Wenzel family is pleased to support this community project,” said Violet Wenzel. “We hope it will be a great place for families and all generations to come and have fun year round.”
Donation opportunities are still open. Naming rights are available for the performance stage, one dining area, and a flag pole, as well as smaller commitments of memory-honor trees and brick pavers. Those who would like to donate to the project should contact the Marshfield Area Community Foundation at 715-384-9029.