Strand Nov. 22-23 grand opening on as planned, ample parking on west side of
business district 

By Louis Hoglund

Pelican Rapids downtown businesses are scambling to adapt to an unexpected street repair–as the holiday shopping season ramps up. 

Merchants were caught unaware, when MnDOT officials and crews showed up this week–shutting down parking and diverting traffic lanes. 

Facing the most significant impact is Matt Strand,  Strand Ace Hardware and home center.  Strand has been gearing up  for months to host a major, two-day grand opening Nov. 22-23. The project is expected to temporarily eliminate parking stalls on main street, which is also U.S. Highway 59. 

Strand has been getting the word out that all of his grand opening promotions will continued as planned–including Traeger cooking classes and wood carving demos. Strand’s most crucial message: If parking is limited on main street due to the project, there is ample parking behind, to the west of the store, with a rear entrance that enable shoppers to accesss Ace and as well as the rest of downtown business district.  

Merchants are also concerned about the scheduled Nov. 29 holiday kick-off “Lighted Horse Parade.” Though the project is expected to be completed by then, further delays are possible if crews encounter anything unexpected below ground. The MnDOT press release, dated Nov. 19, stated that work “is expected to take approximately seven days to complete, weather permitting.”  If seven days become necessary, combined with the Thanksgiving holiday, the project could impact Pelican’s annual holiday kick-off parade.    

The street project has generated criticism up and down main street.  Strand faulted both MnDOT and the city of Pelican Rapids for lack of communication with merchants. 

The repairs involve a storm sewer line.  Pelican’s underground utilities, some 70 years old or more, are scheduled for a massive reconstruction with the U.S. Hwy 59 project in 2024, but the current storm sewer repair, though temporary, was necessary.