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Storefront renovation to bring 2 businesses, apartments to New England

Press Photo by Katherine Lymn Harold Maershbecker stands inside the new building he and his wife have built in New England that will bring two storefronts and eight apartments to the growing small town’s Main Street.

NEW ENGLAND — One project in the revitalization of downtown New England is moving along well, and has a dress shop as a confirmed tenant.

That store will open sometime this month, said Harold Maershbecker, who owns the Main Street building and is heading up construction. The upper levels of the building will house eight apartment units.

The other space’s business has yet to be determined, but that’s by design — Maershbecker said he wanted the other space for storing construction equipment in the meantime.

When he does open that one up for leasing, he expects it to be successful — after all, he said, there aren’t many places in town to open a business.

New England Mayor Marty Opdahl said he’s happy that will be offered in town.

“We’re just so happy that we’re going to be able to provide some entrepreneur with a place to get started,” he said. “That’s the biggest issue that you have in these small towns.”

“I believe that when it gets built and when it gets finished, there’s going to be some entrepreneurs … they’re going to jump at the chance,” he said.

Opdahl said this renovation is just one part of a larger revitalization of the town.

He cautioned, though, that the growth isn’t all thanks to the oil boom. The mayor said he’d attribute some of it to “pent-up excitement” and “things that needed to get done.”

It also seems to have been a snowball effect.

Along with Maershbecker’s building, another building is being renovated for a secondhand store and more apartments, there’s a new laundromat, a new bar and also the Broken Brick, a new restaurant.

“Along with that is the brand new fire hall coming in and … just there’s a lot of excitement being generated in New England,” Opdahl said.

The New England Community Store is also looking to expand its building, maybe even doubling in size, he said.

“We went many, many, many years where hardly anything happened in New England and it’s been pretty exciting” lately, he said.

The eight apartments are half one-bedrooms and half two-bedrooms.

Maershbecker started the leasing process this month and hopes to move tenants in on May 1. The apartments have vinyl kitchen floors and carpeting, and share a second-floor laundry room.

He’s predicting interest from Southwest Multi-County Correction Center employees, elderly people and oil workers.

Maershbecker is a Richardton native but has lived in New England for 40 years.

He said most of the time, old buildings like this one — called the Diamond Building — just sit empty. He wanted to invest in the community.

“It’s a nice little town,” he said.