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Half of historical society rent waived

The city will forgive about half of the Goodhue County Historical Society's rent for this year, Red Wing City Council members decided Monday.

The society has paid $9,588 already and asked the city to waive the remaining $10,882 balance.

"We're almost in the black," Goodhue County Historical Society board chair Roseanne Grosso said, adding the organization would cross the line with the rent forgiveness.

Council members supported waiving the rest of the rent with the condition that if the board receives donations or raises the money to pay the rent it would not be forgiven.

In 2012 the City Council agreed to reimburse the full cost of the museum rent. The decision was based on the museum's financial needs and issues with the building, which the city owns.

The historical society has budgeted full rent for next year, Grosso said.

Council member Ralph Rauterkus said the county should help with the shortfall.

"It bothers me that you're only asking the city to give up something and not the county," he said. "If they want to be a true partner with the historical society, they should be a true partner."

Grosso said the county contributes $92,000 annually toward the society. Council member Marilyn Meinke also noted the county paid for two-thirds of a feasibility study for the Goodhue County History Center.

The study examined the current city-owned building and a potential museum move to the Citizens' Building.

Grosso said there will be discussion next week about the results, but the society likely wouldn't want to move the museum to the smaller building.

"We're crowded now," she said.

City Council members talked at their last meeting about conducting a feasibility study on the old hospital building near the current museum with the same architect.

The proposal that came before the council Monday estimated a cost of up to $20,000 for the study, which was significantly more than planned.

Council administrator Kay Kuhlmann said she will go back to the architect and ask about a more narrow study that would include looking at expanding the museum campus into the old hospital building.

The council also could discuss other potential uses for the hospital building and include public talks in the process.

"We need to work with that neighborhood around our property" on the best use for it, Planning Director Brian Peterson said.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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