County to sell former Dean Lake Town Hall building

Taxpayer dollars should not be used to revamp a former town hall building in the Second Assessment District, members of the Crow Wing County Board advised.

Taxpayer dollars should not be used to revamp a former town hall building in the Second Assessment District, members of the Crow Wing County Board advised.

The building, which has sat mostly idle since the former Dean Lake Township dissolved in 1994, needs repairs to its roof along with pest control and general maintenance. The county acquired the property when it took over governance of the unorganized territory.

Reid Thiesse, facilities manager for the county, asked for the board's opinion on how to proceed with the building at its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday.

Built four years before the township dissolved, the building is in decent condition, Thiesse said, but is not currently used for any purpose. He said the county spends around $350 per year for the building's electricity connection.

Commissioner Paul Thiede recalled at the time of dissolution, a hindrance to selling the building was the possibility the township would reorganize. After 20 years and little to no increase in population, Deborah Erickson, taxpayer services manager, told board members that she did not see a benefit to maintaining the property.


"It doesn't seem in 20 years that there's been a community need to having a meeting place of any kind," she said.

Thiede said he thinks the county should put the building on the market as quickly as it can.

"I think there is value in this property," he said.

Commissioner Paul Koering said he opposed spending any money for repairs to the former town hall.

"I don't want us to spend any taxpayer dollars fixing it up," Koering said. "I don't know what the point is."

In 1995, the county sought the opinion of County Attorney Don Ryan on the matter. Ryan's opinion stated that the county could divest in the building and the one-acre tract of land via quit claim deed.

County administrator Tim Houle said with the decision of the County Board to not invest in the building's repair and maintenance, the next steps for staff involve researching the history of the property and ways to sell it.

"We'll review the county attorney's opinion ... and ask him if that still is accurate," Houle said. "We'll double check with him to make sure what we do is legal."


Houle said although the property is not tax-forfeited, the county will likely follow a similar process, ensuring fair market value is assessed.

"It's a tax-exempt property, but there is still a value attached to it," he said.

The matter will come before the board at an upcoming regular meeting once staff has identified a course of action.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What To Read Next
Get Local