After a “hiccup” in Monday’s anticipated release of state grant money to allow the Park Rapids Economic Development Authority (EDA) to acquire the Armory Arts and Event Center, fund transfers to complete the deal went through on Tuesday.
“We had a small hiccup with payment to the city from the state, but expect it will hit our bank today and the closing process will start,” City Administrator Ryan Mathisrud said Tuesday morning.
During the afternoon, Mathisrud shared this update: “The closing is currently in process. The City received funds this morning and transferred those funds to the title company. I don’t anticipate any issues with the closing at this point.”
The Armory story has been epic in length and has been “close to completion” for several years.
Paul Dove, who serves on the Armory board, said the board has been planning a “virtual celebration” following completion of the purchase. After Mathisrud announced the closing was in progress, Dove confirmed that the celebration will take place at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25 outside the Armory’s front door.
A tentative program for the event includes a parade of city vehicles, a flag raising ceremony, recorded music, confetti cannons and speakers with messages about how the re-dedicated Armory will help the community grow. A local minister will close with a prayer paying homage to Memorial Day.
“It is the hope that the event will instill excitement in the community,” said Dove.
There are plans to live stream the event. Look for the page “Armory Arts & Event Center” on Facebook. (Note: A Facebook page titled “The Armory Arts & Events Center,” with “The” and the plural “Events,” is connected with a facility in Ohio.)
In 2014, the Minnesota Legislature allocated a general obligation bond proceeds grant of up to $2.5 million for a project then titled the Park Rapids Upper Mississippi Arts Center. In late 2018, the city offered that amount, less the city’s costs, to developer Alan Zemek with Armory Square Management Corporation to purchase portions of the historic National Guard Armory and its annex, not including Vallarta’s Mexican Grill.
Meantime, the city agreed to lease the facility to the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corp. The MMCDC, in turn, agreed to sublet it to a local non-profit called the Armory Arts and Event Center, which will operate the building under that name.