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A new event center for Northwood

Former Northwood Lumber being transformed into community space

NORTHWOOD — What used to be Northwood Lumber will now be a building for the community.

According to Wendy Weisert, Northwood Lumber closed about five years ago, and sat empty until construction company owners Scott Madsen and Brian Kenison purchased the building. Their initial idea was to tear the building down and build apartments, but she said once the men got into the structure and got a good look inside, they decided “the bones were too good to tear down.”

Instead the men approached the community group TUNE — Total United Northwood Effort — about the organization buying the building so it could be turned into an event center, something Weisert said the area could certainly use. The space will be called The Timbers – Northwood’s Event Center.

Over the past year, the contractors have been working on transforming the former lumber building into an event center that can host wedding receptions, birthday and graduation parties, and post-prom events, among others. Weisert said that without having advertised the space yet, there are already two graduation parties booked as well as eight wedding receptions. The local Pheasants Forever chapter is considering the space for a banquet, as well.

While the original plan was to have the event center up and running for Northwood’s Founders Day, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a figurative wrench into that plan. Instead, the space will now be ready for its first wedding at the beginning of December. Coincidentally, the first wedding in the event center will be for the daughter/granddaughter of the Northwood Lumber owners.

With the original Founders Day plan also being a way for TUNE to fundraise for the rest of the project costs, Weisert said they are having to get creative with planning fundraising that adheres to coronavirus guidelines. While the organization has gotten about $800,000 through different grants from the Worth County Development Authority, about $100,000 more is needed and TUNE will look to the community for help. Those wishing to donate can do so by mailing donations to TUNE courtesy of treasurer Pam Meyer, 4525 Thrush Ave., Northwood, IA 50459.The event center will utilize as much of the former Northwood Lumber location as possible, and can seat between 350 to 400 people, depending on the seating arrangements.

The center will have two entrances, one for event guests and another for catering or kitchen staff using sliding barn doors.

The insides of the building are reclaimed tin and original dry ice-blasted wood from the original structure. A vaulted wood ceiling with rafters is the focal point of the center, and seating can go all the way around the second floor as well as around a wooden dance floor on the main level. A bridge will connect the two sides of the second floor. Wooden chandeliers will be accent points on both levels. Sets of restrooms will also be on both floors. The kitchen or catering area will have a walk-in cooler and be near a bar area. Marbleized cement and original wood will be the flooring in the event center.

In the future, the hope is to finish an outdoor area where wedding ceremonies or other outdoor events could take place, as well as finding more area for parking.

 

About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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