The Minnesota Historical Society grant review committee rejected the latest grant request from the Mille Lacs County Historical Society to redo the roof on its Great Northern train depot museum in Princeton.
The committee’s recommendation to reject the request now goes to the MHS board for formal action. The Mille Lacs County Historical Society, in partnership with Mille Lacs County, has been seeking a $238,485 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant to redo the depot museum’s shingle roof and trim. The MLCHS has unsuccessfully tried before to get the grant. Neither Princeton Community Development Director Carie Fuhrman nor Mille Lacs County Historical Society representatives, who listened by telephone speaker phone to the MHS grant review committee’s deliberations on April 17, are expecting the MHS to disagree with the MHS committee’s decisions.
However, Mille Lacs County Historical Society President Penny Quast said after the April 17 MHS committee meeting that she was encouraged the Mille Lacs County Historical Society might get the grant later in the year.
Quast and Fuhrman related how the MHS committee recommended that the Mille Lacs County Historical Society/Mille Lacs County apply again this coming August. Preliminary action would be taken in August and if it is approved at that time, it would advance for final approval in November, Quast and Fuhrman said.
Some months ago, the MHS said the chances of the Mille Lacs County Historical Society getting the roof grant would be improved if it first had an architectural study done to determine what all needs to be done with the roof and its cost. The MHS gave the Mille Lacs County Historical Society a grant for that study and it was completed.
The MHS also recommended that the Mille Lacs County Historical Society get a partner in applying for the grant, and it did that by getting Mille Lacs County to agree to be the fiscal agent for the grant. The Mille Lacs County Historical Society met another requirement many years ago: to have the former Great Northern train depot building be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Going for the grant to redo the roof has had twists and turns, with the MHS continuing to suggest other things the Mille Lacs County Historical Society needs to do to get the grant.
Even the snowstorm on April 11 caused a delay in the MHS grant review committee deliberating.
The committee had intended to meet on April 11, but didn’t have enough members show up to conduct business because of the snowstorm. Mille Lacs County Historical Society board members Melvin Lindquist, Quast and Tammy Creasy attended.
Fuhrman said there is one more thing that might boost the chances of the Mille Lacs County Historical Society getting the roof grant later this year. The MHS grant review committee suggested that the Mille Lacs County Historical Society do some fundraising to contribute funds toward the roof project, she explained.
Even though matching funds are not a requirement of the grant, the review committee looks favorably upon the grant requester contributing something toward the project, Fuhrman said.
MHS Legacy Grant Assistant John Fulton said that a question also arose as to whether Mille Lacs County would be putting any money toward the roof project. That would help, Fulton said.
Blacksmith shop grant competitor
Fuhrman, Quast and Fulton also noted that the MHS grant review committee might have approved the Mille Lacs County Historical Society grant request this time had there not been a request from Cook County and the Cook County Historical Society for money to acquire an old blacksmith shop in Grand Marais.
Fuhrman, Quast and Fulton explained that the MHS committee knew the depot will still be around in the near future. Fuhrman said Cook County representatives told the MHS committee that other people will likely acquire the blacksmith shop and tear it down if Cook County doesn’t purchase it now.
Another grant competitor that received the MHS committee’s blessing was the Minnesota Department of Transportation in partnership with the State Archaeological Society to scan and digitize archaeological survey data.
The roof and trim on the old depot museum in Princeton continues to deteriorate, and Quast said last week that if the Mille Lacs County Historical Society doesn’t get the roof grant this coming fall, the Mille Lacs County Historical Society will have to begin roof repairs.