By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

County commissioners, on Aug. 8, heard a review of plans to remodel the Phelps Mill Store near the historic Phelps Mill in central Otter Tail County. Both structures are owned by the residents of Otter Tail County.

The Phelps Mill Store, used in previous years by visitors who purchased ice cream, pop, mill-related memorabilia, and other items, is in dire need of repairs. Once repairs are completed, county officials are confident that a renter will again operate the Phelps Mill Store and attract visitors.

Until that happens, the first step is to have architectural consultants verify the existing conditions of the store, meet with the county building committee, provide information to the Minnesota State Historical Society, and provide cost estimates for renovation.

The county has contracted with Widseth, Smith and Nolting of Alexandria.

“We need to have good plans in order to receive grants through the state of Minnesota, working in consultation with the state historical society,” said County Parks and Trails Director Kevin Fellbaum to county commissioners.

To that end, Fellbaum summarized a recent visit by state officials to the Phelps Mill and Phelps Mill Store sites.

Added County Commissioner Lee Rogness, “This project meets the objectives of what we want to do within parameters of the county parks and trails budget.”

Fellbaum said the recent sites visit by state officials was important, in order to verify existing conditions. County residents have expressed support to commissioners in their efforts to renovate the Phelps Mill Store.