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From the council: Liquor licenses approved for new Perham restaurant

The Perham City Council held a public hearing at Monday's July meeting before approving a Sunday Liquor License and an On-Sale Intoxicating Liquor License for Destination Dining LLC.

Jake and Kellie Smith, who applied to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division for both licenses, plan to operate their business at 165 West Main Street in Perham, a property formerly occupied by the Whisk from Scratch Coffee Shop.

"They will be a restaurant with a full-scale bar," City Manager Jon Smith said. "They are hoping to be open by August 1."

DEED representative appointed

The proposed Hub project took a step forward after Smith talked with Gerry Wenner, the appointed representative of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the state office which is charged with executing all grants connected with the project.

Wenner is the person Perham officials will be working with as the Hub project goes forward.

In May, the Minnesota State Legislature earmarked $6 million for a Perham project that would see the old Perham High School renovated and repurposed.

Smith said a face-to-face meeting is now in the works and answers to scores of questions about procedure should be forthcoming.

"Now it is just figuring out what we will have to do to access those state funds. We still have to go through the application process. They have requirements." Smith said.

There is also the matter of matching the state appropriation. The tentative plan is to raise the money with a local option sales tax, which voters would have to approve in November.

One of the questions being asked by the Perham City Council is: If the Hub project gets off the ground, will it be able to stay in the air?

"The council is saying, 'We're supportive of a project, but we want to make sure the project is sustainable. Not for just the next year or two but into the future.'" Smith said.

The Perham-Dent School District is the present owner of the old high school, but ownership of the 134,000-square foot building may change. One idea is that the future ownership of the Hub would be divided between the three members of the Tri-Board — the city, the school district and the Perham Area Community Center.

Consent Agenda

The council took swift action on a number of consent agenda items including:

• A Lakes Country Health and Safety Contract.

• A Lakes Country Technology Contract.

• The appointment of election judges for the 2018 primary and general elections.

• Annual Liquor License renewals for five Perham businesses.

• An acceptance of Lakeside Golf Club's income statement.

• An acceptance of the Perham Area Community Center's financial reports.

• An acceptance of the city's financial reports.