Scandia Mayor Christine Maefsky
In May 2023, the Minnesota Legislature included $2.2 million for the Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center in a statewide capital investment bill that came together in the final hours of the session.
A joint project of the City of Scandia and Scandia Heritage Alliance, the Arts & Heritage Center includes space to celebrate Scandia’s rich history, an outdoor amphitheater, a splash pad play area for kids, and a wetland overlook and trails.
“We are grateful to Sen. Karin Housley, Rep. Josiah Hill, and retired Rep. Bob Dettmer for their bipartisan efforts to make this project a reality,” said Scandia Mayor Christine Maefsky. “It’s only through their critical efforts that we are celebrating this moment.”
The legislative grant for the Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center brings this project closer to full funding, and SHA plans to launch a capital campaign to get the project across the finish line. To date, SHA has raised $600,000 in cash, donated professional services, materials, and park land provided by the city. In addition, SHA is working with MacDonald and Mack Architects to place the Water Tower Barn on the National Register of Historic Places to open the opportunity for historic preservation grants.
“Never underestimate what a group of passionate individuals can accomplish!” said Susan Rodsjo, board chair of Scandia Heritage Alliance (SHA). “We have tapped into a network of amazing Scandia volunteers – you wouldn’t believe the talent in this community. We owe a debt of thanks to attorney John Herman and legislative consultant Bill Strusinski, Scandia residents who are experts on legislative funding.”
Rodsjo continued, “We are confident in our ability to raise the remaining funds, and we hope to begin construction in 2025.”
Maefsky said the Arts and Heritage Center – slated for construction on parkland adjacent to City Hall – aligns perfectly with Scandia’s Comprehensive Plan. “The center will celebrate our heritage, enhance community character, and protect natural resources – all goals identified in our Comprehensive Plan. I look forward to the shared sense of community the project will bring to Scandia – and its value as a regional asset for the entire St. Croix River Valley.”
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