LITTLE FALLS -- Several members of the Minnesota Fishing Museum & Education Center's Board have been testifying on behalf of their bill at the Capitol in St. Paul.
Director Steve Lund, founder Al Baert, education director Wayne Pikal and Jerry Lochner, manager of Little Falls City Services, appeared last month before a joint hearing of the Economic Development Budget Division Committee, chaired by Sen. Jerry Janezich and the Human Resources Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Linda Berglin.
SF2423 is authored by Sen. Don Samuelson, DFL-f Brainerd. The bill requests financial assistance from the state authorizing state bonds and appropriating money for a permanent Minnesota Fishing Museum & Education Center to be built in Little Falls.
Earlier this month, Lund, Baert, Pikal and Lochner were joined by members Bob DeRosier and Lenny Pintok for an evening appearance before the Jobs and Economic Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Dan McElroy. The Senate companion bill, HF 3560, is authored by Rep. Steve Wenzel, DFL-Little Falls and co-authored by Rep. Steve Dehler of St. Joseph.
During both hearings Lund said the immediate need is to raise $200,000 for final architectural design and to purchase land for the permanent structure. The legislators reiterated the state bonding bill is expected to be limited in size this year and that the museum would have to contribute some matching dollars.
In 1999 the museum received a $50,000 planning grant from the state for predesign of the new 30,000+ sq. ft. facility. Lund emphasized to the legislators this is a Minnesota Fishing Museum that is centrally located in the state in Little Falls. He added the fishing industry is a critical part of the state's economic infrastructure as each year it generates almost $2 billion into the Minnesota economy.
The Minnesota Fishing Museum & Education Center, located at 304 W. Broadway in Little Falls, is closed through March for renovations. For information, contact the museum office at (320) 616-2011.
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