Editorial: A great first stepPublished 9:14am Friday, May 2, 2014 Updated 11:15am Friday, May 2, 2014
The Campus Development Group took a big first step Monday in a project to redevelop five outbuildings on the grounds of the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center. The development group will create 14 or 15 market-rate apartment units in one of the five buildings it plans to renovate. We commend the progress, and hope the project continues as planned this summer and fall.
The project could provide enormous benefits to the Fergus Falls community, from attracting more people to town — tourists and potential residents — to providing an economic boon, as money is spent on construction and supplies — hopefully locally — and construction workers shop and eat in town.
There have been obstacles along the way — including when the entire project went into default in March 2013. That situation has been remedied, though, and these first renovations are a significant milestone as the group plans for renovations of four other buildings.
Other aspects of the estimated $41.4 million redevelopment project of the RTC by Historic Kirkbride are also moving forward.
We’re glad Friends of the Kirkbride members Maxine and Gene Schmidt announced this week that they will continue their tours for the 10th year. More than 9,000 people have toured the facility and its historic grounds since the first tour was given in February 2005. Visitors have come from at least 40 of the 50 states and eight other countries, and it’s no doubt a big draw for Fergus Falls.
A photography group will also launch a website, projectkirkbride.org, on Sunday (See the front page story), showcasing the historic structure.
We’re glad this tangible progress is taking place after years of planning and negotiations, and hope it’s just the beginning.