Archived Story

Project Kirkbride stalled; on city agenda [UPDATED]

Published 7:10am Monday, April 1, 2013 Updated 9:15am Monday, April 1, 2013

To the City of Fergus Falls: My name is Christian VanAntwerpen. I suggested an idea almost three months ago to the Friends of the Kirkbride group to document and capture every square inch of the RTC complex and to display it in a way that anybody can explore this treasure regardless of what may happen to the structure in politics. An idea that will be free to every person who has access to the internet. I saw a huge amount of initial support from people wanting to be involved and wanting to see this come to fruition.

Then the idea became a proposal, and more support was shown … a mayor!

And furthermore an initial conversation from City Administrator Mark Sievert who assured me that things were happening with the kirkbride to make these kind of ideas happen. The idea became known as Project Kirkbride.

We continued to grow and now had support from more city officials. We also caught the eye of the Otter Tail County Historical Society and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

The OTCHS furthermore partnered to help with finances and provide a preservation based backbone to the project. We started making local news and also were being posted over social and historic media. Then a call from a Minnesota Senator showing support.

We also received calls from City Administrator Sievert backing down from his initial conversation and starting his new initiative on how to handle the RTC and limited access.

As of today this is how we sit: He will only allow some of the building to be photographed in spite of a guarantee of OSHA approved standards being met.

He wants to charge approximately $5,000 to have city officials “babysit” the project, in spite of the fact that this is backed by groups trying to preserve the building and would not want anything to happen to it.

He has also refused to acknowledge the 12 volunteer security personal offered to help the city. His office has also stated that the very foundation that is backing us has documented the building enough. He has also left this project for city council to determine the value of.

This will be discussed at Monday’s city council meeting. I disagree with this line most of all. City of Fergus Falls, this project is for you. We have dedicated our best for this project because we feel the RTC is what truly makes your town unique. If you agree with what we are doing, please please show up at the meeting on Monday and show the city you want this project to succeed.

More than the 45 plus volunteers, or the half dozen historical groups involved … we need you. Now, more than ever. Please do what you can to spread the word. My name is Christian VanAntwerpen … I had an idea. It’s in your hands now.


Christian VanAntwerpen

Muskegon, Mich.


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