Merrill residents react to T.B. Scott mansion being demolished

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 10:47 PM CST
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MERILL, Wis. (WSAW) - After a wrecking permit was obtained to demolish the T.B. Scott mansion, Merrill residents are still fighting to keep the building standing.

“It’s super important that we save this history. Merrill doesn’t has very few building left and this needs to be saved,” Merrill resident Brion Hoffman said.

“We find out there’s a demolition order in place right now. We’re flabbergasted that the communications are that poor,” Steve Sabatke added. “We should have had input. I’m frustrated the citizens of Merrill are frustrated.”

Brion Hoffman even helped to start a petition to fight against the demolition.

“I mean just to save this building. There’s not many more like this in the northern half of the state,” Hoffman explained.

One of the popular suggestions was to have the building moved to another site in the city. But after moving the building, buying a lot, and renovations, it could end up costing $5,000,000. So it’s too late to keep the building as is.

“The city doesn’t have that kind of resources to take on that kind of project. And I don’t see anyone else with those resources stepping forward,” City administrator David Johnson said.

Johnson added that the historical preservation committee in Merrill also entertained making the house a landmark in 2018.

“The committee said ‘no’. They said they would not put it on the list unless the owner wanted it on the list,” Johnson stated.

The city of Merrill has little influence on the matter since the house is privately owned. Meaning that Ascension can do whatever they see fit.

“I would let people know this is out of the cities hands. It is not something that we can stop, it was done legally. If they decide they want to tear it down they can,” Johnson said.

There will be a meeting on February 17 at 5 p.m. talking about the mansion. Since the city doesn’t have much say what happens with the mansion, it will not be a meeting where action is taken.

Ascension declined an interview but offered a statement which said:

“There have been a number of conversations over the years from interested parties regarding the mansion but none of those advanced beyond initial inquiries. There are a number of reasons it can not stay at the current location for another use including easement issues and it being too close to the hospital without its own dedicated driveway. As a result, we will focus on a plan to decommission the Mansion in a manner that acknowledges the significance of the building and its importance to the area by preserving essential architectural elements and artifacts to secure its place in the historical record of the Merrill community.”

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