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Chamber’s plans really are ‘giant’

From the Editor's Notebook

September 23, 2013
by Chuck Hunt - Register Editor (chunt@faribaultcountyregister.com) , Faribault County Register

Now we're talking.

The plans unveiled by the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce to construct a new building at Giant Park and move the chamber office, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Giant Museum and a giant-sized Guinness Record cap collection into it, is, well, in the words of chamber director Cindy Lyon, nothing short of 'giant.'

I realize she uses that word quite often in her Chamber Focus column in the Register to describe anything connected to the big green guy that Blue Earth is famous for. But this time, she is right on.

This is something big. So big that it is, indeed, giant.

And, nobody asked me for my opinion, but I think this idea isn't just giant, it is also a very good one.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing really bad with the current chamber office and Giant Museum location.

They have a nice office in what was the former police station. It is part of the City Hall complex and the chamber enjoys some reduced costs because of it being owned by the city.

Putting the Giant Museum right next door in the former fire hall also made a lot of sense. Since it is connected to the chamber office, it can be open and staffed by chamber personnel who are already busy working right next door.

If it were located elsewhere, staffing the museum and keeping it open for substantial hours would be a big problem.

The chamber's current location has one detriment, however. It is hard to find.

Sure, local residents know where it is. But visitors from out of town have had some trouble finding it. While it is downtown, it is not on Main Street.

Moving everything to Giant Park makes much more sense. In fact, that is where one would expect to find it. The Chamber of Commerce will still be able to serve the community, but being located by the Giant statue they will be able to increase their tourism work ten-fold.

I predict the tourist information center and Giant Museum will see an astounding increase in traffic.

This really is a giant opportunity. Of course it is also is a giant undertaking. Finding the amount of funding necessary to do this is will take a lot of hard work.

It would be worth the effort.

I can see a concerted effort much like the one that resulted in a new swimming pool center in the city.

Funding could come from a combination of donations, grants and city and chamber monies.

While it will take a large amount of cash to make this happen, it will be a good addition to the community.

But, I add a few words of caution. Planning is going to be critical on this project.

Constructing a giant-sized building is great, but locating it in the right spot is critical.

Giant Park is a beautiful place right now. A building put in the wrong place could wreck that park-like atmosphere. Or it could block the view of the Giant. He is the main attraction, after all.

And, while I am at it, here is some more two-cents worth from the editor.

That old, unused gas station in front of the entrance to Giant Park has to go. And, as much as I love trees, the one right in front of the Giant statue should go away, too.

Both items block the view of the Giant. Visitors coming off Highway 169 (who are now driving south on Giant Drive on the east side of Walmart) are driving right by him because they can't see him.

And they probably can't believe he is located behind an empty gas station.

The chamber had to put up a sign to let them know to turn in. That was a great improvement, because despite being 65 feet tall, he seems to be very well hidden.

Thousands of visitors stop in to see the Giant every year. Unfortunately their first impression of our fair city is that old building.

It needs to go away.

Perhaps it should be replaced with a brand new structure that can house a chamber office, tourist information center and a museum or two.

Just an idea. After all, if you are going to dream, you might as well dream big.

I mean, 'giant.'

 
 

 

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