City letting film production use old liquor store
The Park Rapids City Council also approves the purchase of laptop computers with docking stations, to allow city staff to work remotely.
The Park Rapids City Council approved an agreement Wednesday to lease the old municipal liquor store to Twin Cities-based Paulie’s Film LLC as a film location.
Producer Hannah Walker and production manager Matt Olson discussed their plans for shooting the film “Minnesota Muskie” in the area, using Park Rapids and Nevis area homes, businesses, streets and lakes for various scenes.
“Our hope is to showcase the beauty that’s up here,” she said. “A lot of the film takes place outside and on the lakes. There’s some muskie fishing involved.”
Walker said their crew of about 40 will spend a single day shooting at the liquor store, located at 100 8th St. E., but their art department will need time to transform the space into a high-tech robotics laboratory for the film. She said they will leave the space exactly as they found it.
Olson stressed that the production is taking health and safety seriously, and the cast and crew will be tested for COVID-19.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better community to walk into,” Walker said, adding that the crew will be staying at a local resort. “Everybody has been tremendously gracious and welcoming to us.”
City Planner Andrew Mack said the agreement has been approved by the city’s insurance carrier, and that the city will make sure utilities inside the building are turned on.
Mack said the production company has agreed to pay $900 for three weeks, starting Aug. 17, and to restrict parking to the south and west sides of the building, to avoid interfering with the Park Rapids Fire Department’s emergency services.
Council member Liz Stone moved to approve the location agreement, and the motion passed unanimously.
The council also approved the purchase of nine Dell laptops and eight docking stations for a total of $13,588, using CARES Act funds, to enable city staff to work remotely.
City Administrator Ryan Mathisrud said that the lack of computers that they can take home affects some city employees’ ability to work while self-quarantining during the pandemic.
He said that with city hall’s current servers, staff working from home must currently download the files they need from the server and take it home on a flash drive, then bring the flash drive back to the office, upload the updated files and delete the previous versions on the server. He admitted that this process has led to mistakes, such as the wrong version of a document being published.
Council member Erika Randall urged Mathisrud to update the city’s antiquated server system. Calling it an issue of efficient use of the city’s time and money, she noted that without a server update, staff must still carry their laptops back and forth to download, update and re-upload files.
Mathisrud said he is seeking quotes to do so, calling the laptop purchase the “first piece” of a two-step process.
“This will allow us to more quickly start the process to be able to work remotely,” he said, estimating that it will take two weeks for the quote to come in, and then two months for the work. He added that CARES Act funds need to be spent by Nov. 15.
Randall also questioned the need for the police chief and lead detective to have laptop computers in addition to the computers they were given to work in their squad vehicles. She suggested looking at cloud-based file storage as an option, and Stone recommended trying Team Viewer software.
Ultimately, Randall moved to approve the laptop purchase, and the motion passed unanimously.
In consent items and general business, the council:
Approved a public facilities use permit for Calvary Lutheran Church to hold worship services from 4:45 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1 and Aug. 15 at Deane Park.
Approved a new brewer’s taproom license for Revel Brewing.
Approved a $2,490 estimate by Swanson’s equipment to replace or repair valves, swivels and delivery pipes relating to leaks on a Park Rapids Fire Department truck.
Authorized city officials to enter into an agreement to participate in the Hubbard County COVID-19 Business Assistance Program.
Approved payables totaling $24,009 and prepaids totaling $180,192.
The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25 at city hall.