Wannigan trail grant approved, troll project approaching

The Troll Project coming to Wannigan Regional Park and Detroit Lakes is creating a sense of urgency as the park prepares to host its largest event in park history this coming May.

By Robert Williams


Multiple grant applications that the City of Frazee agreed to fiscally host were announced as approved during the March bimonthly Frazee City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 27, at the Event Center.

A Sawyer Foundation grant to explore setting up a family resource center in town was approved. Through this summer, a gap assessment will be conducted, along with listening sessions with families, the library system, Mahube-Otwa and other agencies to work on what should be prioritized by a resource center.

The Korf dental property at 101 Ash Avenue East has been rezoned from Downtown Commerical (C-1) to Single and Two-Family residential (R-1).

Two other grant applications are out in hopes of covering staffing costs. Those will be awarded this summer.

“This is the first important step to get to the next step,” Economic Development Consultant Karen Pifher said.

The Active Transportation Grant of approximately $224,000 was also approved and will aid in constructing a trail from County Highway 29 to Wannigan Regional Park, along with helping create more handicapped accessibility at the ballfields. Construction is scheduled for 2025.

The council also agreed to allow an application be made for a Placemaking grant of $150,000 from the Blandin Foundation.

Placemaking fosters socially connected communities that have increased civic capacity and collective ability to make positive change within the community, including helping to build, restore, and preserve community identity—particularly in communities who have experienced racist and anti-cultural oppression.

Pifher also stressed the need for Frazee to have a consistent marketing budget.

The grant request will be designed to hopefully fund all those things.

There are no matching funds required by the city.

New businesses

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Wednesday, April 3 at 9:30, 10 and 10:30 a.m., at The Gobbler, The Monarch and The Healthy Hornet. More new businesses are planned to be celebrated in May, according to Pifher.

“It’s a really exciting time to be in the community; lots of good things happening,” Pifher said.

Pifher is also working closely with the Frazee Community Club. The two groups are working on increasing community club membership, including a sponsorship level for businesses and an increase in goal setting.

A new program has been created to support existing businesses and new shops “Fridays in Frazee,” a consistent schedule of end-of-the-week activities aimed at bringing families together in town, and in turn, supporting local businesses.

A meeting to plan “Fridays in Frazee” is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, at 4:30 p.m. in D&K Designs on West Main Ave. (The blue building with the mural) and at the green space on the downtown corner.

The public is invited to attend and bring ideas. Snacks will be provided and attendees will have a chance to win a $50 Frazee Bucks gift card.

“Fridays in Frazee” will be held from 2:30-5:30 p.m., every Friday on West Main Avenue with family-friendly activities. Many of those ideas came from a questionnaire that was completed at the community club’s annual meeting and a prior meeting regarding Wannigan Regional Park.

Wannigan Regional Park

Frazee Community Development Corporation (FCDC) Representative Polly Andersen discussed more grant applications being submitted in the coming months for Wannigan Regional Park.

FCDC is working on a mock-up sample of a welcome sign for the park that will be presented to City Administrator Stephanie Poegel in the coming fortnight. Signage sample material will also be submitted.

The group is currently only working on the welcome sign, prior to working with the police department on signage that will be needed in the future.

“Signage is a concrete thing we can be working on, but of course, on everybody’s minds is traffic management, making it a good first-time experience for visitors,” Andersen said.

Other maintenance issues were discussed, such as mowing, trash collection, and traffic signals. These issues were brought to the forefront with the coming Troll project in May, which will be the first real event with heavy traffic at the park.

“We’re just doing our best to make that a positive experience for everyone,” Andersen said.

Project 412 of Detroit Lakes is bringing Danish artist Thomas Dambo to the area this May and June to create six troll art installations, one which will be at Wannigan Park.

Dambo was recently named a top five art exhibitionist in the world in 2023 and his arrival will put a spotlight on both communities during the summer project timeframe.

Volunteers are needed. To volunteer for the troll project visit www.project412mn.org/ and select the Get Involved tab. They also have Instagram and Facebook pages: project412mn.

“When I think of where we’re at and the tenor or tone of our efforts, we’re really excited to have the council be advocates for Wannigan and put forward that growth-oriented outlook,” said Andersen. “That’s a big change for us and I know it is for me, personally, when I come into town and what do I expect? Changing to that advocacy outlook is something where we’re hoping for that to be more of a culture that we’re working to bring to Frazee with partnership with the council.”

Korf rezoning

After a public hearing by the Planning Commission on Monday, the Korf property at 101 Ash Avenue East as rezoned from Downtown Commerical (C-1) to Single and Two-Family residential (R-1).