Kevin Voracek, Mayor of Faribault, told listeners of KDHL today he will be interested in what Rice County officials decide to do in developing the north block area of downtown.

Wold Architects presented some ideas yesterday to the County Board of Commissioners meeting as a Committee of the Whole.  The block is across the street to the east of the Rice County Courthouse and includes the former Woolen Mill building.

County Parks and Facilities Director Matthew Verdick will present the proposals to the Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission this evening and then to the City Council on March 1, 2022.

We told Voracek about the proposals.  His response.

Four different proposals were submitted by Wold Architects.  A couple of the proposals include a partial closing of 1st Avenue NW for "secure police parking."  There was a proposal that had a parking lot west of the Faribault Police Station to provide more parking in the area.

One of the proposals calls for the demolition of only the Friendship House, formerly Knight Barry Title building.  All other buildings including the Woolen Mill would remain.

Three of the four proposals call for the Woolen Mill building to be demolished.

It appears Commissioners are in favor of retaining the current LEC facility to be used for Community Corrections and Parks and Facilities.

I told the Faribault Mayor,

A couple of the ideas included a friendship garden in the block. Another concept included a housing development downtown which Commissioner Jeff Docken was not totally sold on...

Docken added they needed to get a lot of input from Faribault officials because the area is a gateway to their downtown.  Commissioner Steve Underdahl also stated they need a lot of input from the city...

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