Cotter breaks ground for new gathering center

Brian Roebke photo
Alliance Construction held a groundbreaking ceremony last weeek for the new Cotter Family Gathering Center in Wrightstown. Pictured are Village President Dean Erickson, Village Administrator Travis Coenen, Tom Thibodeau of Alliance Construction, and JoAnn, Mike, and Matt Cotter.

By Brian Roebke
Cotter Family Gathering Center held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new facility on High Street in Wrightstown on Tuesday, Sept. 26, and after 3 1/2 years of planning, construction is at hand.
Tom Thibodeau of Alliance Construction said Cotter approached them about two years ago because they wanted to develop a new space in Wrightstown to replace the old funeral home that had seen its better days.
“A gathering center is really what they wanted to do,” he said.
As Mike, JoAnn, and Matt Cotter got into the planning phase, they decided to replace the funeral home with a duplex but they didn’t want to lose their presence in Wrights-town.
The Wrightstown location of Cotter Funeral Home was added in 1989 with the retirement of Clem De Wane.
“They’ve been in Wrightstown for a long time and they love being part of the community so they wanted to make sure we had plans in place for something in Wrightstown, something for the community that they still had a strong presence down here,” Thibodeau said.
Jim Cotter had his first funeral in 1962, and Jim’s son, Mike, joined the firm in 1983. In 2012, Cotter Funeral Home welcomed its third generation of directors as Matt Cotter received his degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and became a licensed funeral director.
“The focus of this building is to be a gathering center for the community,” said Matt Cotter, vice president and co-owner. “Our presence in the community has always been centered around funeral and memorial services. We certainly will continue to honor families’ lives and wishes here as well but we also want to be able to touch those other milestones in their lives.”
The intent of the new facility is for events both for life from birth to death as well as celebrations that include parties, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, anniversary parties, family reunions, that people can rent the space in the main gathering area that can be divided into two separate acoustically isolated spaces.
The capacity of the grand parlor is 198 persons, and it’s certainly possible to hold a memorial service on one side while hosting a luncheon on the other side of the movable wall.
Matt Cotter said the support of the village, including Village Administrator Travis Coenen, was tremendous.
“Travis was very instrumental as well as the village board in getting this project off the ground with us,” he said. “We’ve gotten nothing but solid support from them as we’ve moved through this process.”
They are grateful and honored to continue to partner with the village as they move forward and maintain their presence in the community for many years.
Coenen thanks the Cotter family for its dedication and loyalty to the community and its families.
“The Cotters have been amazing partners in supporting the community in good times and unfortunate times,” he said. “The staff and board look forward to a long, prosperous future with the Cotter family that we know this project will reinforce.
Coenen also thanks Alliance Construction for all they do to support the community. “From community events to bringing and building amazing projejcts within the community, they are a team that is hard to beat.”
Cotter’s previous location was in the center of the community for many years, but in recent years the community has grown more to the east side by the schools, grocery store, and other businesses.
“As Wrightstown continues to grow, and that’s just wonderful, we anticipate that maybe in 10, 15 years, we might be in the middle of town,” Matt Cotter said.
Completion is scheduled for mid-summer 2024.