The Armory will enrich the lives of all residents and to contribute to the quality of life and vitality of the entire community.
Arms Around the Armory, a community wide effort to present the center to Minnesota House and Senate Members involved in the bonding project.
Spring of 2014: Thanks to the efforts of Senator Rod Skoe the Minnesota Legislature approved $2.5 million in bonding for the Upper Mississippi Center for the Arts.
March 2016: Bonding agreements require public ownership. After careful consideration, the
Park Rapids Economic Development Authority approved forwarding the necessary
agreement documents to the state.
The City of Park Rapids purchases the Armory in May 2019 through a grant provided by the State of Minnesota.
The Park Rapids Armory was once believed to be a building that was too big to renovate and too expensive to tear down. The facility had been vacant for 18 years prior to restoration and had a number of environmental issues preventing redevelopment of the site. Due to a number of local private and public partners, a plan for restoration was put into place. Braun Intertec joined the effort as the project’s environmental consultant.
After more than two years of planning, environmental cleanup, installation of new utility services, including state-of-the-art stormwater abatement infrastructure, energy efficiency upgrades and accessibility improvements, Phase I of “Armory Square” opened to the public. Phase I featured an expansion by Summerhill Farm, a well-regarded local retailer, into a new, year-round facility on the corner of 2nd Street and Park Avenue.
Phase II included restaurant space, studio spaces for offices, education, visual artists, music and dance instruction, gallery spaces, workshops, and an event pavilion for community events, conferences and performing arts.