DEED has the ball in Armory purchase

Park Rapids City Administrator Ryan Mathisrud voices the hope that the six-year process of acquiring the historic building may be resolved soon.

The city is close to completing its acquisition of the historic Armory and its annex, minus Vallarta's Mexican Grill, to be operated as a regional arts and events center. (Enterprise File Photo)

The purchase of Armory Square awaits only the release of state grant funds, City Administrator Ryan Mathisrud told the Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday.

“We have submitted the disbursement request to DEED for review,” said Mathisrud, referring to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “As I understand, they are in the process of reviewing it now. They need to do that prior to setting a closing date on the Armory. So, that’s moving forward. Hopefully, we can get some resolution on that soon.”

In 2018, the city offered developer Alan Zemek with Armory Square Management Corporation $2.5 million to purchase the Armory and its annex, excluding Vallarta’s Mexican Grill. The funds come from a state grant awarded in 2014 to develop a regional arts and events center.

Mathisrud also reported that closed-session discussion of his six-month performance review was postponed to the council’s next meeting at Mayor Ryan Leckner’s request.

In consent items and other business, the council:


  • Amended the city’s Future Land Use Map to reguide two donated parcels adjacent to Depot Park from Residential to Park and Open Space, and approved the first reading of a zoning amendment to rezone them from R-2 (single, two-family and townhouse residential) to P (public and quasi-public).

  • Approved the first reading of two zoning amendments requested by Stephen Larson to rezone parcels at 201 and 205 Pleasant Ave. from B-2 (general business) to R-B (residential business transitional). City Planner Andrew Mack said this would allow plans to renovate existing rental housing on those properties to move forward as permitted uses rather than grandfathered, non-conforming uses.

  • Reappointed Kim Donahue to the city’s Parks and Beautification Board.

  • Set a local Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting for 9 a.m. Thursday, April 9 at city hall.

  • Set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 regarding the proposed vacation of a 100-foot alley for the Simonson Addition, between Main Ave. and Park Ave. in the first block north of U.S. Hwy. 71.

  • Paid Northland Securities $1,000 for the fiscal year 2018 annual continuing disclosure report.

  • Paid Banyon Data Systems $2,775 for annual computer software support.

  • Paid the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust $82,364 for 2020 worker’s compensation insurance.

  • Paid the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce $886 for fourth quarter 2019 billing regarding the Wayside Rest Agreement with the Chamber and Hubbard County.

  • Denied requests to donate funds to the All Veterans Memorial and Kinship of the Park Rapids Area. It was noted in staff memos that the city cannot use general funds to contribute to other organizations.

  • Approved the use of the fire hall for the 2020 Firemen’s Ball on March 21.

  • Approved a wage increase for part-time Rapids Spirits liquor store clerk Mark Fox. Per the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 118 contract, Fox moved to the 36-month step, or $15.55 per hour, effective Jan. 27.

  • Approved a resolution supporting a 2020 bonding request to develop the Heartland State Trail Extension west from Park Rapids to Moorhead.

  • Approved a resolution supporting a 2020 bonding request to develop the Itasca-Heartland Connection State Trail from Itasca State Park to the Heartland Trail.

  • Approved a $287 reduction in the fourth quarter 2019 sewer billing for Gloria Kueber at 19351 Eagle Pointe Trail. This was because water from a water heater leak under Kueber’s house, detected and repaired in October, did not go into the sewer system.

  • Approved payables totaling $30,700 and prepaids totaling $197,968.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 at city hall.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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