SIBLEY TOWNSHIP -- More than 100 years after it was established in Crow Wing County, Sibley Township residents finally have their own town hall.
The new red metal building, located on top of a hill on County Road 112 north of Pequot Lakes, is still under construction and was built onto an existing township garage. Cost of the new building is estimated at $100,000 to $125,000.
The building, which has a unusual shape, was designed by Pequot Lakes area architect Lloyd Conley. Once complete, it will house a kitchen, two handicapped bathrooms, the township clerk's office and a great hall that can be rented out for weddings or other gatherings, seating about 100-125 people comfortably. The new facility was built in part because the township is about to take over planning and zoning responsibilities from the county.
The township, established Dec. 4, 1900, needed a place where residents could go to apply for building permits, look over township zoning maps or ask questions. On Tuesday at its monthly meeting, the township board will vote on whether to accept its zoning ordinances and take over those responsibilities from the county.
Sibley already has its own planning administrator, Dennis Slayton. All township meetings had previously been held at Pequot Lakes City Hall. Township Clerk Cathy Malecha runs township business out of her home, which takes up about a room and a half out of her house.
Plans are to unveil the new township hall during the township's annual meeting in March, although the carpet won't be installed yet.
The building is available for rent starting May 1. Its first reservation was recently made for a family reunion in August.
Large windows on the new building provide a scenic view for renters. The problem is, said Malecha, that the new township hall needs a few signature touches to its interior and hopes everyone will help.
The township is searching for old documents and photographs taken within the township to enlarge and use to decorate the great hall. Perhaps photographs of a Sibley Township homestead or farm. Or old photographs of area families enjoying the many lakes found within the township.
Malecha will have the photographs enlarged and then return the originals. The old pictures will hopefully provide a historical perspective to the new building and create ownership for those who live in the township.
But Malecha quickly pointed out the new building is not just for township residents, but for those who live in the neighboring communities as well.
"We built the hall for the community, it's not just for Sibley," she said.
If you have old photographs or documents that could be used to decorate the new township hall, call Malecha at 568-6699.
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