A Giant day in Blue Earth
As more than one speaker noted, it was a Giant day in Blue Earth last Wednesday.
The official ground breaking ceremony was held at 10 a.m. for the new Chamber of Commerce building that will house the Chamber office, a Tourist Information Center and the Green Giant Memorabilia Museum.
Several people spoke before the ceremony, including the representatives of various boards and groups which have helped work on the project.
Those included Chamber director Cindy Lyon, Chamber board president Lillian Robinson, mayor Rick Scholtes, city administrator Tim Ibisch, Mary Kennedy of the EDA, county commissioner John Roper, as well as the city engineer, the architect and the general contractor involved with the construction.
The idea of the new building has been several years in the making. It started when the Chamber was looking at replacing the Little Red Barn in Giant Park which currently serves as the tourist information center.
From there it grew into a purchase of the old, empty former gas station building to the north of the Giant Park parking lot, and developing plans for an all new building.
The new building will come in at a cost of just under $1 million. When bids were let last month, the successful bidder was United Builders of Blue Earth.
Construction is expected to start as soon as the weather cooperates and the ground is ready.
Financing for the building comes from a variety of sources. The Chamber received a grant of $300,000 from the State Legacy Fund. The city of Blue Earth has stepped in and donated $200,000, and is going to finance the rest of the cost which the Chamber will be paying back in monthly lease payment installments, taking over full ownership of the facility when that amount is paid off.
In addition, the Chamber has done considerable fundraising for another large part of the cost, and Lyon says they will continue to do so.
Construction on the building is expected to take all summer, with completion estimated to be in August.
At that time the Chamber office, currently in the former police station, and the Giant Museum, now housed in the former fire hall, will make their move to their new location. So will the tourist information which will expand its space for souvenirs, with the move into the new building.
Nearly 50 people attended the ground breaking ceremony.