Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce executive director Cindy Lyon is excited.
It was exactly one year ago that she attended the Blue Earth City Council meeting to tell them of plans to possibly construct a new chamber building at Giant Park, home of the Green Giant statue.
On Monday, she plans on returning to the council with what she calls ‘Giant’ news.
“We are proceeding with our plans for the new chamber building,” Lyon says. “But we still have a ways to go.”
Lyon explains the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has been proceeding with having some preliminary plans drawn up and has started to receive some significant financial backing on the project.
“We have had Brad Hinrichsen, of Hinrichsen Construction, draw up some building plans,” Lyon explains. “Then we will have our local construction companies bid on the actual project.”
The plans are for a large building that will resemble a type of barn to be constructed on the east side of the Giant statue.
“We have our Little Red Barn tourist information center now out at Giant Park,” Lyon says. “So we want the new building to be our Big Red Barn.”
Inside will be the chamber offices, the tourist information center complete with Giant souvenirs and two large display areas one for the Giant Museum and the other for the collection of caps from Buckey Legried’s Guinness Book of World Records Cap Collection.
The building will also have a covered patio on the west side of the structure, with sidewalks up to the Giant statue.
No actual costs estimates for constructing the building have been given at this time, and won’t be until the building construction is put out on bids, Lyon says.
Currently the chamber office and the Giant Museum are housed downtown in the former Blue Earth Police and Fire Department building, west of City Hall.
Lyon also has some other ‘Giant’ news to tell the City Council members.
“We are already receiving some donations for the building,” she says. “And one of those is pretty, well, giant.”
Lyon says a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous at this time has pledged to give $100,000 to the building fund.
“He is giving the chamber $50,000 this year and another $50,000 next year,” Lyon says. “We also have two other donations coming in, of $15,000 and $6,000.”
And, the chamber has not yet actually started any fundraising activities at this point. They are just now forming a Giant building fundraising committee.
Lyon says she expects this to be a three year project, with any construction slated to begin at least two years from now.
“It could take a while to do the fundraising,” she says. “But we are very hopeful that everyone will be interested in contributing to this ‘Giant’ project.”
She adds that it makes sense to put the chamber office out at the Giant Park.
“We had 3,900 people out here this summer, and that is just the ones who signed our guest book,” Lyon says. “We can have a lot of visitors to our museum, plus we can give them information about Blue Earth when they stop.”