SCSU students to showcase a vision for Little Falls

Public invited to offer input

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

The Heritage Preservation Class at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) chose Little Falls as its final class project. Wednesday, the students will showcase the ideas they have generated and the areas of the city they would like to develop and preserve.

Their project included submitting a proposal for a citywide enhancement campaign called, “Branding Little Falls.” Using planning and design, the students are to highlight “the story of Little Falls.”

Prior to this project, many of these same students adopted Elk River as a project.

Representatives from the city have been working with the students to develop potential projects in key areas.

In October, the students were given a tour of the city by Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem, Mary Warner of the Charles Weyerhaeuser Museum and Kris VonBerge, executive director of the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

Because the students’ class is “Historic Preservation” they wanted to see the historic sites, said VanRisseghem.

She said the class, led by instructor Dr. Chuks Ugochukwu, was sent plans that the city received years ago from the University of Minnesota. Those designs were for Le Bourget Park and included French gardens and an amphitheater, said VanRisseghem.

Designs drawn up for Mill Park, as well as other designs drawn up in years past were emailed to the students, as well.

Since the October visit to Little Falls, two groups have visited with the students in St. Cloud to give input, including Chamber President/CEO Deb Boelz; Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board Member Phillip Smith and his wife, Jeanne; business owners Charlie Peterka and Barb Fjeld (also on the CVB Board and Linden Hill volunteer); Caleb Gosiak, who works with VonBerge on bike racks in the city; VanRisseghem and VonBerge.

The City Council has been approached about allowing camping in Le Bourget and Mill Park. “We told them about those thoughts and the bike trail coming through,” said VanRisseghem.

The public is invited to see the students’ ideas and presentation at the Little Falls City Hall Wednesday, at 2:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

“The students have been diligent in their efforts to learn about Little Falls and our history,” said VanRisseghem. “It has been a pleasure working with them on their project and I am looking forward to seeing their final presentation.”

VonBerge said the city was not obligated to use the ideas presented and that community input is desired.

“Come to the meeting that’s open to every community member and business, so we can get input on the vision for Little Falls,” said VonBerge.

For more information, contact the Little Falls CVB, at [email protected] or (320) 616-4959.