Scandinavian Heritage Association wants input into proposed heritage center renovation

Heritage association wants input into proposed renovation

Jill Schramm/MDN Kevin Davick, vice president of the Scandinavian Heritage Association, speaks at a Minot Park Board meeting Tuesday about a proposed grant to expand and remodel the Scandinavian Heritage Center.

Members of the Scandinavian Heritage Association want to vet a plan by Visit Minot to expand and remodel their joint building. A proposed application for a federal grant for the construction project hangs in the balance as the group weighs its approval.

The Minot Park Board on Tuesday agreed to pursue a federal Economic Development Administration grant with Visit Minot for developing its Outdoor Family Recreation Area and trails but gave only conditional approval to the portion of the grant request related to the Scandinavian Heritage Center expansion. The park board is waiting for the association to first sign off on the plan for the center. The association board meets today. It has been asked to make a decision quickly to avoid delaying the time-sensitive grant application.

Stephanie Schoenrock, executive director for Visit Minot, presented floor plans for a 1,000-square-foot addition to the center. More space would allow for an additional retail area for pop-up shops and a co-working space and meeting room for hospitality or sports-related groups that draw traffic into Minot. The construction on the main floor would include remodeling bathrooms to become handicapped-accessible.

Maintaining the Scandinavian design will be important, Schoenrock said.

“We definitely will keep the integrity of the Scandinavian feel so that is a complement to the park,” she said. “It’s important that we have these incredibly important tools to continue to capture people to come to our community, and I really hope that with this building that we can do this. We hope we can get the funding to be able to do this.”

The Minot City Council on Monday approved a letter of support that would include a promise of $200,000 toward the construction project, estimated at about $1.3 million.

The association had raised about $500,000 toward constructing the $750,000 center when it was built a number of years ago. It essentially serves as caretaker of the building and park. The association and Visit Minot hold a contract that provides for their uses of the building.

Kevin Davick, association vice president, said the board has not had a chance yet to review the plans or meet to discuss the matter.

“We have given some preliminary acceptance to what the direction has been,” Davick said. “We would want the best for Minot. We all work together for that. But there are many things within what has been presented to us that represent many concerns.

“I don’t think the board as a whole is against moving forward. What I’m concerned about is how that space is going to be utilized,” he added.

“My concern is that we keep this building a Scandinavian — look and feel — building,” said Liz Gjellstad, association president. “And I want to keep all the things that show that we are part of the Scandinavian Park as well.”

Sue Weston, association treasurer, said members want input into how the space and traffic flow are designed.

“Our concern has to do with being a participant in the process and making sure that the flow provides for all of us in an equal manner,” she said.

Members would prefer the association offices not be located at the lobby entrance, as proposed in the design, but inside the building with its gift shop, which produces the association’s revenue for maintaining the park. Visit Minot and its architect indicated the floor plan is not a final design and can be adjusted.

Schoenrock said the hope is that Visit Minot and the association will reach an agreement. If not, Visit Minot will drop the center project from the EDA application and pursue just the recreation portion with the park district.

The second part of the grant includes the park district’s proposed day-use park being built in conjunction with an outdoor recreation area. Elly DesLauriers, marketing and development director with the park district, said the application includes about three miles of trails that weren’t funded in a previous grant request to a state program. It includes a day-use area that will have an indoor pavilion, a playground, a high ropes course, a zip line, community orchard and snow hills with tow rope and possibly a snow-making machine.


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