Sterling breaks ground for new community center

After ten years of planning, fund raising, and lobbying Juneau, the Sterling Community Club broke ground last week for a community center that promises to increase the quality of life for many residents of the Central Peninsula.  “We’ve been working on this for a long time with the idea of having place for our Sterling community where we can all get together and experience the good old rural community lifestyle.  We’ve worked with our legislators and they have been very helpful in bringing us to this ground breaking celebration and right now our goal is to get some engineering and ground work underway this fall yet and start building in the spring,” said Sterling homesteader and past Borough Assembly president Grace Merkes. 

According to Sterling Community Club president Bob Oakes the new center is truly a community project, “In 1953 this location was originally purchased by the Bureau of Land Management for the Sterling school house. The original school house was moved this last year to its new foundation so now we have room for the new 10,000 square foot building that we hope to have completed within the next year for our community center,” Oakes told the Dispatch in an interview.  The new center will be right next door to the Sterling Elementary School and the hockey rink, “We built the hockey rink all with volunteer labor and we hope to utilize much of that community expertise and spirit in the erection of this new building as well,” added Oakes. 

When completed the facility should be able to facilitate events and banquets for up to 350 people says Oakes, “It’s a need for the whole Central Peninsula and we’ve had a lot of people asking for it for non-profit organization fund raisers and events like weddings and anniversaries, so we are really excited to be heading into the construction phase and encourage anyone interested in volunteering your talents or equipment to contact Grace or I and we’ll be sure to put you to work on this community project no matter where you live,” he said.

To reach Bob Oakes call CBC Rental at 262-7368 or Grace Merkes can be reached at 262-9811.