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Some ‘giant’ plans for Giant Park

By Staff | Sep 23, 2013

Now that the city owns the land the Green Giant stands on, the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce director has some ‘giant’ plans for the property.

Cindy Lyon was at the Blue Earth City Council meeting last Monday to tell the members what she and members of the chamber board and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) would like to do.

Those plans include constructing a large new building at Giant Park and relocating both the chamber office and the Giant Museum to the site.

Currently the chamber office is located on the west side of the City Hall, downtown, in what once was the police department office. The Giant Museum is next door, in what used to be the fire hall. The chamber leases those two sites from the city.

“This would be a great opportunity for us,” Lyon says. “We would be able to expand our TIC (tourist information center) now located in the Red Barn and keep it open year round.”

Currently the Red Barn is only open in the summer months. If the chamber office was located there, it could be open all year.

“We could also keep our Blue Earth and Giant memorabilia in one location instead of two and expand on it,” Lyon added. “Right now we stock items in the Red Barn in the summer but move it all to the chamber office the rest of the year.”

Putting the chamber office and Giant Museum at Giant Park is not the only plan Lyon is working on. “We want to make the building large enough to house Roger “Buckey” Legried’s Guinness Record cap collection there, too,” she says. “There are 105,000 caps in the collection and we would display half at a time and store the other half.”

The late Buckey Legried’s, son, Scott, has been working with the chamber to find a place to display the huge collection.

While some members of the council expressed enthusiasm for the project, there were some questions.

“I think we would be missing a great opportunity if we don’t explore this,” councilman John Huisman said. “The Green Giant is a huge tourist attraction to our community and this would be a way to expand on that.”

Councilman Glenn Gaylord said he was in favor of the idea but had some reservations.

“I wonder if we wouldn’t be biting off more than we can chew,” he said. “Maybe we should start with just moving the chamber office there and expanding the tourist center now, and then build on later for the other things.”

But, Lyon said she would like it all done at one time. She added that the goal is to have it done in two to three years.

Huisman suggested a committee be formed to work with the chamber in developing a plan.

Other discussion centered on raising funds for the project. Some of the sources mentioned included the city, EDA (economic development authority), liquor store fund, chamber and CVB money, grants and private donations.

“I think people would donate to this,” Mayor Rick Scholtes said. “I think we can do it and our community will support it.”