MARATHON – A new child care center and park for softball and baseball will be built above the banks of the Big Rib River through a partnership with the village of Marathon and St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Marathon, the village announced today.

The child care center for this community of roughly 1,500 residents will be roughly 8,000 square feet and will provide before school, work day and after school child care services, with a capacity of 75 children. It is projected to employ 20 full-time staff members focused on early childhood development.

“Through the long range ministry planning of St. Matthew’s, the child care center was a vision for growth of the greater Marathon community, and where better to start than with our youngest community members,” said Jerry Natzke, representing St. Matthew’s Child Care, in a news release. “Collaborating with the village and shared visions, this proposed project will be a step in supporting the needs for future development of our community. This location is ideal for our family’s needs and surrounding our center with a beautiful new park gives us a green space for the children to enjoy.”

The park will be a relocation and expansion of Veteran’s Park and will feature two regulation high school softball fields and two 12U baseball fields. Veteran’s park will be home for Marathon High School softball and the youth summer baseball and softball programs sponsored by American Legion Post 469.

In addition, the relocated Veteran’s Park will be the new home of the annual Marathon Fun Days, featuring two new modern pavilions, expanded parking options and greater flexibility for event planners. The pavilions will be available to the public for graduation parties, family gatherings and other community events.

“The joint planning efforts we have had are intended to improve services and opportunity within our community,” said David Belanger, village president, in the release. “The child care facility and Veteran’s Park relocation are part of the broader plan for growth and sustainability of the village.”

Negotiations for land bordering the village have been completed, according to the village. Acquisition of the property and annexation of the property into the village of Marathon by St. Matthew’s is anticipated to be completed by Dec. 31. The proposed timeline for the projects include a construction start in the spring of 2021 with completion in the fall of 2021.