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Revitalizing downtown . . . Exterior construction is nearly
finished on the first part of a total rebuilding of Kenmare's
downtown west side. Interior work will continue through
late winter or early spring of 2013.
By Caroline Downs
The Kenmare square’s new west side is taking shape, with exterior construction for Phase I of the project nearly finished and interior work scheduled to continue during the winter months.
Three businesses and a clinic/office are looking forward to the completion date, now scheduled for late winter or early spring 2013.
With the walls up and the windows installed, the general public will no longer see the progress on the construction. The work continues, though, according to Jamie Livingston of State Bank & Trust of Kenmare.
“The builders are currently getting the electric forced-air furnaces and duct work installed,” he said. “They’re also working to get power hooked up by MDU.”
He added that plumbing, electrical wiring and sheetrock work would be happening soon in the four Phase I stores. The roof will be finished with a plywood cap and metal trim installed over the top of the surface.
The new west side square building, with 24,000 square feet to be constructed in two phases, is a project with State Bank & Trust of Kenmare president Jim Jorgenson as a principal. Jorgensen, along with Livingston, considered several options to transform the empty lots and buildings occupying the west side square into viable and attractive retail space for the city.
Reishus Construction of Mohall serves as the contractor for the west side square project. The project will cost an estimated $2.4 million, with plans to gift the finished building to the Kenmare Community Development Corporation.
“We’re looking at February or March for completion of Phase I,” Livingston said. “I know they want to get [the Kenmare Drug] building done first so owner Kim Essler can get moved in there.”
The four Phase I stores are all committed, with Kenmare Drug moving next door from its current location into an 80’ x 80’ space equivalent to two of the new store spaces. “Kim is going to take the White Buffalo Soda Fountain in there,” said Livingston. “From what I understand, he’ll be using the same furnishings and decorations to keep the atmosphere of the soda fountain.”
The store next to Kenmare Drug will be a downtown expansion for Kenmare One Stop, owned by Penny and David Sigloh of Kenmare.
The Siglohs operate Kenmare One Stop on the frontage road west of U.S. Highway 52, selling clothing for men, women and children, work wear and Kenmare Honkers gear, along with offering custom embroidery and laundry services.
When Phase I of the west side square project is finished, the Siglohs will open a second store there in a 35’ x 80’ facility. “We’re carrying so many new women’s items now, we don’t have room for it all [in the current store],” said Penny Sigloh. “They mentioned the west side square project to me, and it sounded like a pretty good idea.”
She laughed as she added, “We’ll see which store does better!”
The Kenmare One Stop downtown location will feature clothing and other items for women, children and teens. According to Kenmare One Stop employee Donna Gilbertson, who handles much of the ordering for the business, all the men’s clothing and work wear items will remain at the original location, along with the custom embroidery operation.
“We have new ladies’ brands coming,” said Gilbertson. “We’ll be expanding the kids’ clothing and adding a lot of unique gift items for kids.”
She also noted the downtown location would allow Kenmare One Stop to extend its lines of purses, jewelry and other accessories, as well as clothing for teens. More items from the popular Silver and Miss Me lines will be carried, and all the KHS gear will be located downtown.
Gilbertson will work in the downtown location and looks forward to the move. “This way, if people are waiting for their prescriptions, they can go do a little bit of shopping,” she said, “and at holiday time, there’s so much going on downtown.”
She said the contractors have consulted with the Siglohs and their staff about the layout, flooring and other finish work needed. However, the Siglohs have not named their second store yet.
“I think it’s going to be fun downtown,” said Gilbertson. “We’ve already heard from several women that they think it’s a good idea!”
First District office
The First District Health Unit office in Kenmare will relocate from its tiny space on Division Street to new offices at the northern end of the west side square.
Melissa Burud, FDHU public health nurse, is excited about the move, especially with increased demands on her position to serve public health needs as well as WIC clients. “We’ll have more space,” she said, adding that children or adults getting immunizations at her office will have more privacy. All clients, especially those with children, will enjoy a more comfortable reception area.
The FDHU office will directly face the square, at the corner of First Avenue and Second Street.
Robert and Mary Marmon of Mohall will operate a laundromat directly behind the new FDHU office, with that business’s door opening north on Second Street. The Marmons are also opening a new laundromat facility in Mohall.
Improved access, lighting
Livingston noted the stores in Phase I and those to be constructed in Phase II will all be handicapped-accessible, with doors that can be operated by switches as needed. Street parking will remain the same, and the new sidewalk will have handicapped-accessible cutouts along the block.
Lighting for the west side square is under consideration in conjunction with the Kenmare City Council’s review of all the downtown lighting. According to Livingston, Jorgenson has recommended replacing the three tall streetlights on each street around the outside of the square with four, lower and more decorative lights, similar to those seen in outdoor mall areas. The city has not finalized any decisions about lighting yet.
One store taken, three available in next phase
Demolition for the stores remaining on the south half of the west side square has not been scheduled, but the project will continue after the Phase I stores are open for business.
Four stores will be constructed during Phase II, sized at 35’ x 80’ each. Livingston announced one of those stores has been claimed by Cassie Golde of Kenmare. She intends to open a coffee shop that features soup, sandwiches and some baked goods.
“She may have a small retail section in there as well,” Livingston said. “We told her to look at the end of 2013 for a possible opening date.”
Three retail spaces are still available in the Phase II portion of the building. Persons or businesses interested in that retail space should contact Livingston at 701-385-4287 for more information.
Despite minor delays in construction, Livingston said he and Jorgenson are pleased with progress on the project.
“Now that people can see what that side of the square is going to be like, they can see how nice it looks,” said Livingston, “and how it’s revitalizing Kenmare’s downtown area.”
Work to be done . . . A view of the interior of the new
west side stores shows that much of the finishing work,
such as sheetrock, plumbing and heating, remains to be done.