LINGLE – After three years of searching for funding, planning and construction, the town of Lingle has its new community center.
The Lingle Community Center formally opened with a ceremonial ribbon cutting Thursday evening. The $1.1 million dollar building features a small conference room – or dressing room, in the event of a wedding – a commercial kitchen, bathroom facilities and a large common area destined to host countless birthday parties, retirement parties and community events well into the future.
It will also be the permanent home of the Lingle Town Council, which held its first meeting in their new chambers Wednesday night. Lingle Mayor George Siglin said the community center isn’t just for the people of Lingle, but for people in the surrounding communities to utilize, as well.
“It’s for everybody in the surrounding area,” Siglin said. “It’s not just for us – it’s for everybody.”
The new Lingle Community Center sits on the footprints of its predecessor at 233 Main Street, which was built in 1918. Lingle Town Council member Steve Edwardson said replacing the building was a necessity.
“It was 100 years old,” Edwardson said. “It served its business. We had two firms in here that did studies on the feasibility of replacing it or repairing it, and they said there is no way you could repair this for what you want put into it.”
“We had three contractors look at it first, and then a structural engineering firm from Casper. They said we’d better not let anybody go in there,” Siglin said.
Siglin and the town cobbled together funding from numerous sources, including a $365,567 grant from the State Land Investment Board. In order to be considered for the SLIB Grant, Lingle representatives had to make their case to the Wyoming Business Council, and it wasn’t an easy process.
Siglin credited former town clerk-treasurer Michele Sussex for handling the behind-the-scenes work that helped Lingle win the grant.
“It took a lot of paperwork to get the thing off the ground,” Siglin said. “At that time – and our clerk at the time is no longer with us – she did most of the paperwork and got us hooked up with the SLIB. We had to go to the Wyoming Business Council first, and it was really kind of odd. Back then, in 2017, the WBC was awarding more grants for business-ready items. There was a railyard in Upton that was up with us.
“This really didn’t qualify as being business-ready. We went to present it to them and the recommendation of the staff was to not approve it because it wasn’t business ready. After we presented to the WBC board, they said that it wasn’t a business-ready deal – it was a community deal. Everyone on the board got behind it and they approved it.”
The town also took out a $500,000 loan from Points West Community Bank, received a $40,000 grant from the Goshen County Economic Development Corporation, and $2,000 from Black Hills Energy, as well as numerous public and private donations to reach its goal.
Now that the concrete and mortar have dried and the lights are on, it’s something the community can be proud to call its own.
“It’s way more than we could have ever expected,” Edwardson said. “We saw diagrams, we saw prints, we saw plan views of everything, but to actually see it totally finished is awesome.”
“It’s just great,” Siglin said.