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Goodhue County considers moving history center to downtown 'jewel'

The Goodhue County Historical Society could soon have a new home where some say it would be more visible and attract added visitors.

The Goodhue County Board voted Tuesday to create a committee made up of county, Red Wing and historical society representatives to look into a plan for the society's home, including the possibility of relocating to the Citizens Building downtown.

"We need to sit down and really come up with a plan for the Goodhue County Historical Society long-term," Commissioner Ron Allen said. "A plan that's going to be sustainable."

The current building on Oak Street faces issues such as flooding, Allen said. He is the county liaison to the historical society. The Goodhue County History Center also is not as easily accessible as the Citizens Building, especially to visitors, he said.

"In my book it's a better location, but it's something the committee would have to decide," he said.

"The Citizens Building is a jewel," Board Chairman Dan Rechtzigel said. "It's a beautiful building in a beautiful location."

One downside of the switch could be the fact that the Citizens Building is smaller than the current location, so off-site storage or other options would have to be explored.

Allen said the city and historical society are open to discussion and possible change.

"We're very interested in participating in the process," historical society board member Ruth Nerhaugen told Goodhue County Board members Tuesday.

Historical society board members said they have looked into relocating in the past, but the cost has been a sticking point.

The county explored leasing or selling the Citizens Building but did not get any viable responses.

Allen said the discussion process should start soon and likely could be wrapped up by late spring.

The decision also would hinge on plans for Health and Human Services employees currently using the building. The board has considered constructing a new facility to house all HHS employees or moving them to other available space in county buildings.

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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