Little Falls and CVB enter into another five-year lease agreement

More tourism funds will stay with CVB as well

By Terry LehrkeNews Editor

The city of Little Falls and the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau entered into another five-year lease agreement. Executive Director Kristina VonBerge is also putting together a five-year plan for repair and maintenance on the home.

Kristina VonBerge, the new executive director for the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), loves the Rosenmeier House. The house, built in 1903, is home to the CVB, located on First Street Southeast.

But, like other houses, it costs money to maintain it. She told the Council Monday night that a five-year house plan was needed.

Since the lease agreement between the city and the CVB expires Dec. 31, the Council agreed to enter into a new five-year lease agreement with CVB.

Also considered was the lease fee, which is currently $500 a month. This money goes into the Rosenmeier Fund, used for improvements on the house. At the end of October, the fund balance was $14,454.

A lot of work is needed at the house, including electrical work. VonBerge said she had one bid for $3,300, and another bid coming for the work. The Council will review the bids when the other comes in.

She is also working on a five-year plan for other updates needed. “It’s your home,” she told the Council. “What would you like to see happen?”

VonBerge said besides the electrical work, the home needs to be looked at inside and out.

There are huge concerns, VonBerge said. The CVB covers basic monthly expenses, and staff takes care of the shoveling and lawn, but not the bigger projects.

But the roof needs work, the retaining wall needs repair and a steep edge in the rear of the home is open to the public, causing safety concerns, said VonBerge.

Contegrity Group has agreed to look at the home to determine what is needed and how to pay for it, she said.

Since increasing the lease fee by $100 a month wouldn’t add much to the fund over the course of a year, VonBerge requested that the amount of money allocated to the CVB from the food and lodging tax be increased.

Under the current agreement, the CVB receives $117,070 from the food and lodging tax, the city receives 5 percent for administrative fees and the remainder is split 50/50.

The Council approved VonBerge’s request for an increase to $125,000. The city would continue to receive its 5 percent and the remainder would still be split 50/50.

Council Member at Large Brian-Paul Crowder told VonBerge the Council wanted to see that the home “always looks nice.”

“It looks nice, but it needs work or it will end up like the Dewey,” said Council Member Frank Gosiak. “If it had been taken care of, it would still be here.”

“Let’s start with the electricity,” said Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem.

The Rosenmeier House is on the National Register of Historic Places. Any work done on the home has to be done to maintain the home’s historic qualities, using the same type of materials as on the original home.