Maroney Commons to close Sept. 3
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
The one-year-old hotel and conference center in Howard is closing due to financial concerns.|
The Miner County Development Corporation, which operated the Maroney Commons in Howard, voted to cease operations as of Sept. 3. Maroney Commons includes Maroney's Bar, Forecast Restaurant and the Windward Inn and gift shop, conference/training center.
"This project was an ambitious project for a community of just over 1,000 people," said Kathy Callies, acting president for Rural Learning Center.
The Maroney Commons, a $6.5 million project, was initially a vision of Randy Parry, past president for the RLC.
"Not only did it attempt to address potential training and community engagement industry demands, it incorporated design elements to meet needs expressed by the community itself -- those elements of rural hospitality and hometown roots."
Despite the closure of the facility, Callies said, she's optimistic about its future because of groups that have stepped forward and expressed interest.
"At the end of the day, the potential is still here," she said.
Maroney Commons is a one-of-a-kind facility that incorporates a number of energy-efficiency options.
"It was really gaining some traction with people knowing it was here," Callies said.
In the past year, the conference center has had a variety of visitors, but one key component to its operation was being able to offer a training place for Airstreams Renewables, Inc., a company that offers accelerated training for employees looking to get into the wind industry.
Callies said Airstreams has currently backed off on its training schedule. One component in moving the industry forward is the production tax credit, which is currently set to expire and requires federal action to extend.
"It was an integral part of the business plan with that constant training," Callies said. "I see a lot of hesitancy to move forward."
Callies said the wind industry could move forward again in a few months, and there are other training opportunities in the gas and oil industries.
"This facility sits available to serve those needs," she said.
Maroney Commons came together through partnerships from many individuals.
"To those of you who helped in so many ways to achieve the completion of this project -- with your financial support, your attendance, through your family and friends and through outreach to your organizations -- this project would not have been possible without you," she said.
Callies said Maroney Commons put Howard on the map "as a place that is determined to move intentionally into the future and not to wait for someone or something else to do that for it."
The MCDC is governed by a volunteer board of directors.
"They have given their best to this project and have provided leadership and inspiration throughout this effort. Our hope is that the project may continue to meet those intents under other ownership and yet remain a vital asset in our community," Callies said.
The MCDC was formed in 2003 to purchase the local assisted living home. At that time, the company that owned the assisted living home was planning to close the facility and move it to another town. The MCDC purchased the assisted living home and has since sold it to a local family. The facility operates at full capacity.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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