Armory Square plans will be shown Monday

Armory Square
Another phase will be announced Monday. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Recommendations for the use of Armory Square will be presented to the public Monday evening.

Cory Scott, a planner with RDG Planning & Design, worked on the plan to look at the best usage of the space in downtown Park Rapids. RDG Planning & Design was the same firm that worked on the original downtown Park Rapids plan that was completed in 2008 and this is a continuation of that work.

"In that plan the Armory was singled out as being unique in its size and proximity and should be developed," Alan Zemek, owner of Echopoint Design and Development, LLC, said earlier this year.

He began working toward development of Armory Square shortly after the original downtown plan was presented.

Before work began inside the Armory an environmental survey was required. A stormwater project was completed along with demolition removal, energy efficiency upgrades and handicapped accessibility projects.


The first tenant in the building is Summerhill on 2nd, a retail store. A restaurant is in the plans as well.

The study that will be revealed Monday examines the rest of the building. Scott and others with RDG have met with several local agencies including the Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council and Northern Light Opera Company about possibilities for performing arts in the Armory. Another area of the building includes studio and classroom space.

Nemeth Art Gallery has also been approached about moving to the Armory. Board members seemed receptive to the idea of relocating to the Armory, Scott said.

"We think with the presence on Highway 71 and downtown the visitors would increase," he said.

Many of the possibilities for the Armory are arts-focused, Scott said, and they have been calling the building the "Artory."

The study is also looking at the level of investment needed to make the Armory a sustainable program in the long term.

The public presentation is at 5 p.m. Monday, July 30 at the Northwoods Bank community room.

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