Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park

Groundbreaking ceremony held for Voyageurs National Park headquarters

September 29, 2009, 8:15 am

Bringing the Voyageurs National Park headquarters from idea to reality was like a relay race, said International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason Saturday.

Mason spoke during the groundbreaking of Phase I of the Voyageur Heritage Center, Voyageurs National Park headquarters, and Irvin N. Anderson Amphitheatre.

She explained that a lot of organizations and people were passed the proverbial baton during the project’s inception, and were asked to run with it to the next step.

“This project is the first phase of an overall project that will revitalize our community through waterfront revitalization,” Mason said. “It takes great leadership to bring a project to fruition and leadership comes in many shapes and forms.”

The project, she said, came from an idea voiced by the late Minnesota Rep. Irv Anderson, who wanted to see a voyageur heritage center in International Falls. With the input of the National Parks Service, city and county governments and staff, architects, and a multitude of other people and organizations, the idea soon had a location between Highway 11 East and the Rainy River along the waterfront. The heritage center idea was merged with plans for a new VNP headquarters, and a complete plan was developed.

“We pitched this idea not only to revitalize our community, to retain those 64 FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs, and to create a vibrant waterfront; but to help evolve a relationship between this gateway community and Voyageurs National Park,” Mason explained.