Brainerd Restoration buys speakers for downtown Brainerd

The speakers will play music for special events.

Downtown Brainerd Sunset2.jpg
Laurel Street Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at sunset in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

A new speaker system will soon bring music to downtown Brainerd.

Sound for Downtown is a project spearheaded by Brainerd Restoration, which recently raised funds to purchase speakers that will play music for special events in the downtown area.

“It’s real, they’re here and we’re really excited about it,” Brainerd Restoration member Mike Angland told the city council Monday, Nov. 2. “It’s just another great example of the collaboration that we have experienced over the years.”

The system cost roughly $15,000, which came partially from Brainerd Restoration’s existing fund balance and from donations of $2,500 from Crow Wing Power and $2,000 from MidMinnesota Federal Credit Union.

Other community partners on the project include Brainerd Public Utilities, Music General, Destination Downtown Brainerd Coalition and city staff.


“I think the biggest thing to note here is that we didn’t have any of our annual fundraising events this year, which is 100% of our funding,” Angland said. “Yet through COVID-19 and through all the down times for all the local businesses and other nonprofits, we were able to raise this money. So it’s really just a shout out to our community that even though we’re all going through some tough times, we were able to raise the money for this. So we’re really proud of it and really excited.”

The speakers will be placed on and powered by various light poles throughout downtown, and the master control unit will be housed at city hall. The CloudBox system can be plugged into an ethernet connection or configured with Wi-Fi and will be connected to Cloud Cover Music, which will be connected to a Cloud Cover Music account to play music or messages.

Both city staff and the Destination Downtown Brainerd Coalition will have access to the control unit and the music service account. The council accepted the donation of the system and directed staff to draw up an agreement among the city, Brainerd Restoration and the Destination Downtown Brainerd Coalition.

Council President Gabe Johnson asked if city staff would have the power to turn off or change the music in the event something vulgar or inappropriate would be played. Brainerd Restoration member John Schommer said they would.

To start, four speakers will be installed on light poles on Laurel Street between South Seventh and Eighth streets, and one will be on South Seventh Street just north of the Laurel Street intersection. Schommer said the system is expandable, so if it’s something the community agrees is beneficial and wants to raise the funds, more speakers could be added in the future.

BPU has agreed to install the speakers, but a specific date is not yet set. Schommer said they’re waiting for a few more pieces to come in and then will have to test the equipment before installation. He hopes everything will be up and running in time to play some Christmas music for holiday shoppers later this year.

Other events and occasions that might make use of the speakers include Lakes Area Music Festival, Small Business Saturday, the farmers market and the Fourth of July parade.

Schommer said after Monday’s meeting Brainerd Restoration’s goal is to do some sort of project each year that makes a difference in the community. Last year the group commissioned the military-themed mural on the side of the Brainerd American Legion. He hopes the speakers will help bolster business for downtown merchants.


THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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