Grantsville native donates $1M to boost area community
GRANTSVILLE — A Grantsville native believed in her home community so much, she donated $1 million to help revitalize it and boost the local economy.
Without the help and support from her hometown, Crystal Mersh said she would not be where she is today and as a way to give back, she provided the funds to help purchase the old high school.
“I’m really trying to help the community change its circumstances and they are responding very well,” she said. “It’s been such an underserved county, now we are making this big comeback.”
For the past few years, Mersh said she wanted to invest in the community and when the former high school property became available, she decided that would be her opportunity.
“It was just obvious because people still have a tremendous affection for this building,” she said.
Before Mersh purchased the high school, Calhoun County was already starting to see an economic boost as it was ranked fourth in the state for the opening of new businesses for 2021 so far.
“I just showed up at the right time, everybody is so interested. This is about the community, that’s where my heart is, particularly around the kids,” Mersh said. “When we were growing up, we had all sorts of people who are still here in this county who looked out for us. I can’t think of a better investment. As far as my legacy goes, I want my children to see me doing what’s important, I want them to see me investing in what really matters.”
Growing up, Mersh said she saw a lot of the same passion and work in the community that she’s starting to see again now.
“This is not a new concept. I saw this role modeling in my childhood and I just copied and pasted it,” she said. “It’s the place that made me. I would not have traveled the world and enjoyed the experiences that I have and started my own businesses. None of those things would have happened if it wasn’t for that place and those people.”
Mersh came together with her fellow classmates to form the 1982 Foundation which is taking on the revitalization of the high school. So far, several residents of the community have donated time and money for the project.
Over the last month, Calhoun County community members have worked to clean up and prepare the former Calhoun County High School for its renovation and transition into a community center.
The foundation set a classmate challenge which encourages alumni to donate the same amount of money as the year they graduated.
“We are starting to get a pretty good stream of donations,” Mersh said.
People are also helping out construction crews by bringing the workers food while they’re on the job.
“People are just really good neighbors,” she said.
Candice Black can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.