bigfork city hall A Defining Architectural Element of our Community
City Hall- A BUILDING WITH MANY IDENTITIES
Construction: Work progress Administration (WPA)
Symbol of American progress
Materials: Locally Sourced Timber and Field Stone
Functions (Past and Present): Public Meeting Hall, First Bigfork Fire Station, Public Library, Boy & Girl Scout Meetings & Events, VFW, Movie Theater, Weddings/Receptions, Dances, Music Concerts, Political Campaign Speeches, Timber Producers/Loggers Meetings & Auctions, Church Services, Religious Revival Meetings, TOPS Weight Loss Meetings, 4H CLUB, Jingle Bell Christmas Bazaar, Local Artists Exhibition & Sales, School and Community Theater Plays, Memorial Day Services (Alternate Inclement Weather Location), First Hospital Auxiliary Arts & Crafts Shows, Prom and Pre-Prom Dinner, Emergency Shelter for Severe Weather/Tornado Warnings, ‘Strings N Things’ local musicians Sunday Afternoon Jam Sessions, and more...
"We will be hard pressed to build a new structure that is flexible enough to accommodate the many functions and activities our community has, and continues to demand of the City Hall"
The Bigfork City Hall is many things; a beautiful architectural form, a representation of the North Woods Environment, An institution for community activity, and an example of America’s struggle to lift itself up during the worst economic crisis in the history of our country. As we are reminded of those hardships today, it is important to protect symbols of our culture that represent our ability to endure as a people throughout history. To remove a building that has served such a vital purpose to the Bigfork community, both functionally and symbolically, would be a grave mistake. By revitalizing the building, the City Hall will continue to serve the people of Bigfork and ensure we maintain our northwoods aesthetic.
A Historical Landmark - Vital to Bigfork's past & future
The Bigfork City Hall is one of only 15 recognized historical buildings in Itasca County. It was constructed in 1936 by the parents and grandparents of families still living in our community today. The wages earned helped individuals and families through the difficult depression years. This building is one of the few remaining examples of the federal government’s effort to help support the Bigfork community during the Great Depression. It is a reflection of the Edge of The Wilderness area both in terms of materials and character, and to demolish the building would be a great loss to the character of Main Street.
Current Need for Revitalization
Due to deferred maintenance and neglect, the building is in need of repairs. But to demolish this historic building and replace it with a common-stock metal structure will have a negative impact on the visual characteristic of Bigfork and long-term costs. With proper maintenance, a fieldstone/mortar building like the Bigfork City Hall has a longer lifespan left in it than a newly constructed metal building has in its entire lifespan. Fieldstone/Mortar buildings have lasted for centuries across the globe because of the materials and construction practices used. In addition, the average new construction project exceeds its original cost estimates by 10-15%, because there are many unforeseen circumstances associated with constructing a new facility. The majority of visitors approach the community from the south and west. On average, Bigfork City Hall is one of the first buildings seen; defining the character of our community and Main Street. By removing this building, Main Street will have the same character as any other small town across America that has already made the mistake of demolishing their historic structures, diminishing the impression it leaves on our guests.
Possible Funding Sources Available
State Capital Projects Grants-in-Aid Program MN Historical & Cultural Grants •
Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Certified Local Government Grants
Private Foundations & Donations Blandin Foundation
BIGFORK CITY HALL Redefining an Architectural Element of Our Community
Why Renovate the Building?
• Bigfork City Hall (1936 WPA building) has previously received a ‘Certified Eligible Finding’ (11/11/1994) from the Minnesota Historical Society
• It is eligible for possible listing in the National Register of Historic Places. We just need to have the nomination written to begin the process - Application Deadline November 2011 for 2012 Grants
• Environmentally speaking, the most sustainable and efficient building is the one already standing • Renovations will create work for Local specialized Contractors • Deferred Maintenance is NOT an excuse for demolition • Renovation is more economically feasible than removal & replacement
• Current Capacity of City Hall 114 People - Proposed Metal Building only 45 People!
This is an irreplaceable piece of Bigfork's history and worthy of preservation!
Need: The existing roof is in a state of disrepair. Repair is vital to protect the interior and structure of the building from damage. The roof is structurally sound, but needs to be re-sealed.
Benefit: An updated roofing membrane will ensure the interior and building structure are protected from leaks and moisture damage while creating a more energy efficient building.
Need: Currently, the basement level of the City Hall is experiencing water issues due to foundation seepage. Foundation repair is needed to seal any leaks or fissures and ensure moisture does not access the lower level.
Benefit: Protecting the lower level will reduce risks of mold or other water related problems. Making the space available for utilization at any time.
Update Furnace Heater
Need: The current City Hall heating system is over 40 years old. The inefficient, out-dated system creates costly heating bills that are taxing on our city budget. To meet current standards and reduce the heating costs of the building, a new furnace system is essential.
Benefit: Grants, Funding, and Rebate programs exist for updating outdated appliances to modern, energy efficient systems. By replacing the existing system, the cost of winter heating will be greatly reduced, quickly paying for any cost incurred for purchase and installation. Estimates show the system could pay for itself in as little as 2-3 years!
Enhanced Front Entrance
Need: The current main entrance is in need of updating to match the improvements that have occurred within Bigfork and along the Scenic Byway.
Benefit: Allow easy access to building for all users and visitors. The revitalization of the front entrance will create a small communal gathering space for visitors, employees, and citizens to utilize during social events. A renovated entrance will create a visually welcoming access to the building and Main Street.
VFW Foster-Bjorge Post 1764 Donation
The Lower-Level kitchen and seating area were in need of renovation. The Bigfork VFW contributed $30,000 for the labor and materials to remodel and update the facilities.
The potential for renovation is sometimes dismissed without full consideration of the facts and long-term implications. With patience, understanding and creativity we can work together to preserve this historic building.
HISTORY + CULTURE + COMMUNITY
SAVE OUR CITY HALL