Archived Story

Council approves first step in RTC demo process

Published 8:47pm Monday, May 7, 2012 Updated 8:53am Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Around 200 people crowded into and overflowed out of the Fergus Falls City Council chamber on Monday night, most of them there to urge the council to not move forward with demolition plans on the Regional Treatment Center. However, the council still unanimously moved that city staff draw up plans and specifications to demolish all of the Kirkbride complex except for the center tower building.

The council also approved a community task force to help come up with an aggressive marketing strategy for the building, in hopes of reaching new developers for the project.

For more information, see the whole story here or in the Wednesday edition of The Daily Journal.

  • Pingback: Fergus Falls City Council Approves Demolition * Asylum Architecture, History, Preservation * Kirkbride Buildings

  • Hamre

    I was at the meeting. The City Council should have known that there were going to be a lot of people there in support of the RTC. There was nowhere near enough room for people. Next time they need to have a much larger place for their meeting on this subject. Kennedy auditorium would have been a great place…. Maybe the Council didn’t want to hear the voices of the ones that voted them in… to represent the people of Fergus Falls and not just themselves.
    Next…. they kept talking about money and how much it would cost to repair and how much it would cost to bring down a major piece of Minnesota and Fergus Falls history… How much is the city spending on the new police station? Why couldn’t that have been used on the RTC for the new police station? I mean they moved the Government offices out there, why not the pokice department as well? Doesn’t make much sense to me to put up a new building when there are already several in town that are empty and can be renovated much cheaper!
    There was a gentleman that said he didn’t want money coming out of his pocket for groundskeeping at the RTC….ok.. Does he want his money coming out of his pocket for the new ice arena that we the people did not get to vote for or the extra sales tax we dish out to pay for it?
    The young lady that said to charge for the tours and to use it for Halloween…. some great ideas! I would gladly pay for those things and I know many others would do the same. Kuddos to her for getting the petition signatures on her own as well!!

    • Mr. E. Nigma

      The City Council “should have known that there were going to be a lot of people there?” Did you contact them ahead of time to let them know you were coming? As was rudely shouted from the peanut gallery: “Are they mind readers?” It’s silly to assume these things.

      It’s also silly to say things like “maybe the Council didn’t want to hear the voices of the ones that voted them in.” 1) it’s another assumption with zero evidence behind it and is slanderous (what purpose does this serve to your goal of saving the Kirkbride?), 2) there was plenty of open mic time (with many of the people saying the same thing over and over: is redundancy necessary? More would have gotten to speak if the mayor knew what he was doing and could figure out how long 2-3 minutes is), 3) many of the “ones that voted them in” were not actually the “ones that voted them in”… Non-residents have zero entitlement when it comes to speaking at city council meetings. It is a privilege to be allowed to and you should be more grateful. 4) there are still plenty of other ways of communicating to council members.

      What the police station costs has nothing to do with the RTC. It’s a red-herring argument. Irrelevant.

      The ice arena is also irrelevant. If you’re complaining about not getting a referendum for that, then maybe we should put the RTC to referendum? I’d bet that the result would not be favorable for you. Be careful what you wish for.

      Charging $2 for tours and Haunted Houses is not going to come anywhere near the money needed to upkeep the RTC. The fact that you think it’s a good idea shows that you don’t really understand the magnitude of money it would cost the taxpayers of this city to keep it as is. I applaud the young girl for speaking, but do you really think anyone would change their mind on the RTC based on the meek ideas of a teenage girl?

      Saving the RTC is going to take money; the council is simply doing their jobs in protecting the citizens of Fergus Falls from this unnecessary cost.

      As for the Friends of the Kirkbride, you’d be wise to change your attitudes. Mud-slinging and conspiracy theories are not going to get you anywhere. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Kirkbride lover

    Leann, well said. We are working on trying to keep it standing. I do believe there is a bigger payoff here than what they are saying in these meetings. I also agree with the council not wanting to hear the people. Little do they realize they are enraging these people who gave them that chair on the council.

  • Lem

    In an effort to maintain the small community atmosphere the city council will never listen, consider or permit the RTC to be saved. They have what they want from the place with the Government offices located out there (anyone have an idea how many times that has been remodeled since it was relocated?? Redevelopment of the property would create new jobs, new housing etc thus destroying the small town feel. I cannot believe that the renovation of the downtown area and the funds spent there created new jobs or new housing yet there was no question in “Saving” the downtown. The RTC is a historical building but I gather it isn’t important to save that bit of history.

  • Christian V

    The biggest shame is that the city council chose to pretty much ignore the efforts made by the city to save this building. 200 people in support of saving a building!!! I hope they think about their actions and upcoming elections. It sounds like they are choosing a very unpopular decision in the face of a large number of potential voters.

  • History CPR

    Dear Fergus Falls Residents and Honorable Leaders,

    I lived in the area for 30 years and when I did I wanted to see the Kaddatz building restored – proudly, folks have done a fine job on this endeavor! What a terrific location and how proud I am for Fergus Falls to have kept the building. Recently, after taking a tour of the Kirkbride, meeting the passionate leaders who provide their time and energy for the tours and the generosity of Fergus Falls Coaches along with “Friends of the Kirkbride” I’m compelled to “thank and encourage” all of those involved in trying to improve the historical value of this space for Fergus Falls.

    I understand the magnitude of saving the entire structure may not be possible. I can empathize with leaders on the task of trying to restore 7-blocks of dilapidated buildings. To do that in a positive way “historically” would be to revive an entire city and it would carry an astronomical price tag.

    However, for the sake of the historical value of the Tower Building, I urge city leaders to preserve the Tower building. In addition, please take urgent action to use some of the funds available and “turn on” the heating and cooling in ONLY the tower building so this structure can be fully restored.

    Consider utilization of the Tower building to provide a tourist destination point with interesting museum pieces for Fergus Falls and Central Minnesota. There are not enough educational sites in this region and not that many related to the Mental Health history – Fergus Falls can create a Minnesota Asylum History Center right in the incredibly valuable and significant Tower building!

    In the meantime, I urge Fergus Falls residents and friends of the Kirkbride to expand their preservation efforts and assist The Prospect House and Civil War Museum located in Battle Lake. Together, with all of the energy, positive action and stamina — Central Minnesota can have more history sites that create interest, learning opportunities and appreciation for Central MN and OTC on a national level.

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