TOWER– The Tower-Soudan Historical Society (TSHS) will use a $125,000 Blandin Foundation Leadership Boost Grant to continue the restoration of the historic brick building on Main Street. …
TOWER– The Tower-Soudan Historical Society (TSHS) will use a $125,000 Blandin Foundation Leadership Boost Grant to continue the restoration of the historic brick building on Main Street. Leadership Boost Grants were launched to encourage Minnesotans living in rural and Tribal communities to be visionary and creative as they move their communities forward after two years of pandemic-related challenges.
“The last two years of complex crises have taken a toll on leaders across rural Minnesota,” said Sonja Merrild, director of rural grantmaking at Blandin Foundation. “In times like this, of great challenge and opportunity, the resilience and fortitude of rural people and places shines through. Yet, we recognize the critical need for more resources to move small communities from where they are to where they want to go.”
“The Blandin Boost grant has given the fire hall restoration project a big boost in moving the project forward and also serves as critical matching funds,” according to TSHS President Nancy Larson. “These are funding sources which we did not know would be available for our project a year ago. The Blandin Boost grant keeps the momentum going and will help to secure additional grants. It is exciting to know we will open the historic building to the public sooner than we initially expected.”
The competition for these grants was very high. To better support the many strong requests, the total amount of funding available increased from $1 million to $5.5 million after Blandin Foundation’s board approved an additional $3 million in June and a $1.5 million grant was secured from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.
The Tower-Soudan Historical Society was invited to submit a full application for a Creative Placemaking grant.
The grant will be used for interior masonry work and installation of the heating system.
For more on Blandin Foundation’s Rural Leadership Boost Grants, and to see other grantee projects, visit https://bit.ly/RuralBoostGrants.
This historic building was Tower’s first fire hall, city hall and housed the city jail. TSHS has been raising funds and writing grants for several years to preserve this landmark, and TSHS has been working with architectural engineers and building preservation specialists on the multi-year project. Once completed, the building will be used for history exhibits, educational programs, and community gatherings and events. This past summer, work on restoring the building’s exterior masonry began, and will be completed next year. The roof has been repaired, and money raised from local fundraisers and other grants are being used to build restrooms.