Carnegie library building looking for private buyer

The former home of the Cloquet library has been put up for sale with the hope that a private buyer will restore and reuse it.

The historic Beaux Arts style property completed in 1920 was for years the Carnegie library in downtown Cloquet. The building, now on the National Historic Register, was vacated in 1987 when the city built a new library and turned the building over to Cloquet County. The Carlton County Historical Society has been its only tenant since then.

Connie Christenson, the Carlton County economic development director, said the county first attempted to renovate the building on its own, but an initial study found it needed about $1 million in repairs.

The building's historic designation means that the county would have to follow strict rules on any renovation, raising costs significantly. A private buyer wouldn't necessarily have to follow the same guidelines, Christenson said.

Offers for the distinctive red-brick building are due to Christenson's office by Friday. As of last Friday, no one had bid on the property, Christenson said.

Matt McKinney


Residents to weigh in on new city hall

City officials are asking Willmar residents for their thoughts on what a new city hall building should look like and where it should go.

For decades, city employees have been working out of a converted medical facility downtown with a leaky roof, air quality concerns and no council chambers. Council meetings have been held at a county building three miles away.

If a new city hall is approved, council members are considering four building sites: two downtown and two on the outskirts of the city, including at the Kandi Mall.

"We're seeking the public's input," Mayor Marv Calvin said. "We want to just be the best stewards we can of the citizens' money."

Residents are invited to a town hall meeting to discuss the proposals at 5 p.m. Monday at the Willmar Fire Hall, 515 SW. 2nd St.

Pam Louwagie

St. Joseph

Wobegon Trail extension opens with event July 12

Construction is wrapping up on extending the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail from St. Joseph to Waite Park — a much-anticipated project a decade in the making that will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to reach existing trails in St. Cloud.

Stearns County Parks will hold a grand opening ceremony for the trail extension at 6 p.m. July 12 at Rivers Edge Park.

The 3.2-mile paved extension is part of a $4.9 million project. It took about 10 years to get permission to build the extension next to a rail line and acquire small parcels of land.

The popular Lake Wobegon Trail opened in 1998. It starts in St. Joseph and passes through a scenic area about 60 miles northwest to Osakis. Once the extension is completed, it will allow trail users to connect to the more populated St. Cloud area and the Mississippi River.

An estimated 125,000 people use the trail each year.

Kelly Smith