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Fergus Falls Demolition Deadline Extended

May 21, 2013 Leave a comment

The Regional Treatment Center’s demolition deadline extension was granted Monday night. It was part of a bonding bill that passed at the state capitol on the Legislature’s final day.

“It passed with overwhelming support,” said Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls).

The deadline to request reimbursement for up to $5 million in demolition funds is now December 2016, instead of December 2014. Grant funds will not be increased in the proposed legislative action.

“I think it’s a win-win,” Nornes said. “It kind of takes demolition off the table. That’s the ultimate hope, I guess. No guarantees there either, but it sounds like the city has made some really good progress.”

Extensive work on the 107-year-old state Capitol is getting the go-ahead from Minnesota lawmakers in a late financial rescue package.

A borrowing proposal that came together on the Legislature’s final day includes $109 million for the next phase of a renovation to the deteriorating building. The money was needed this year to keep underway construction from halting. A new parking ramp will be authorized, but paid for with fees from users.

The package is the result of high-level negotiations involving majority Democrats and minority Republicans, testament to the supermajority it requires for passage. It cleared both chambers with votes to spare and is on to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Aside from the Capitol project is an $18.9 million award for a new Minneapolis Veterans Home building that will garner a big federal match. There is also $20 million for flood mitigation projects.

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Fergus Falls Opens Back up for Tours

The historic Regional Treatment Center (RTC) in fergus falls is opening back up for visitors to get a glimpse of this over one hundred year old state hospital

The RTC was the third state hospital in Minnesota finished in 1890, and housed patients up until 2009.

Now the RTC sits vacant, the local group “Friends of the Kirkbride” has been giving tours for the past nine seasons and has worked to keep it from being demolished.

The City of Fergus Falls oversees the RTC now and is waiting for a developer to purchase the land and give it a new use.

Mayor Hal Leland, says he hopes it can be revitalized to help support the local economy again like it once did. “I would hope that it would become the economic engine that it once was, where it would provide jobs and an opportunity for entrepreneurs and other business to get involved up there.”

Leland says they have had interest “from coast to coast” and have two projects being presented to the city council in the coming weeks, one this Monday.

The City of Fergus Falls has is also waiting for HF1622 to pass the Minnesota legislature and extend the state grant that gives them funding for the RTC.  That legislation would allow them more time to find a developer and maintain the building while it sits empty.

Leland adds “It’s an enormous sturdy facility, developers have told us it will last for another hundred years if you just take some care of it.”

Tours of the RTC are every Friday at 2:00 PM and are by reservation only by calling, 218-736-5328.

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