Perham City Council approves use of home as social club for those with mental illness

A Place 2 Belong will meet at home owned by Perham Health.

City Manager Jonathan Smith swears in Council Member Fred Lehmkuhl, Mayor Timothy Meehl and Council Member Brad Schmidt during the council's monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (Carter Jones / FOCUS)

The Perham City Council approved A Place 2 Belong’s request to use a house owned by Perham Health as a social club for individuals diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

The Planning Commission of the City of Perham recommended the approval of the conditional use permit to the council as the commission felt that the project would not be a detriment to the character of the neighborhood. The commission gave this recommendation after a public hearing for the project was held by the Planning Commission on Aug. 18.

The house that A Place 2 Belong will be using as a social club is located at 759 Second St. SW. The social club will be operating during normal hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. with members coming throughout the day. A Place 2 Belong is partnering with Perham Health on the club and has similar social clubs with good reputations in Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes.

The conditions that the council approved for the organization use of the residential house for a social club are there will be no overnight stays in the club, it will only operate between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and if issues with on-street parking arise, the organization will be required to provide additional off-street parking.

Other business discussed by the city council:


  • The council approved the acceptance of a donation of $500 each from KLN Enterprises, Pettow Construction, and Disgruntled Brewery for the disc golf course.

  • The council approved the acceptance of a donation of $1,000 from the Perham Lakes Lions Club for the Perham Police Department.

  • The council voted unanimously to amend the city’s tobacco ordinance at the City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 14. The amendment to the ordinance raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21. The amendment to the ordinance will bring the city of Perham into compliance with state laws on tobacco regulations that took effect Aug. 1. Chief of Police James Gritz said he believes that the new regulations only prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 and does not prohibit the possession of tobacco products by those under the age of 21.

  • The city approved Arvig’s traffic control plan for the Arvig building expansion from Sept. 21 to Oct. 31, 2021. The plan includes closing down part of Second Avenue. According to City Manager Jonathan Smith, Arvig owns the property on both sides of the blocked-off portion of the street and will be providing access to renters in the blocked off section of the street.

  • Construction is continuing in the Industrial Park Project with paving occurring on Seventh Avenue and Second Street, curb and gutter have been installed on Sixth Street only with the last driveways along Seventh and Second Street, utilities should be complete within the next week and will allow for the final grading of Ninth Avenue and Third Street. Roadway preparation is also occurring on Eleventh Avenue to bring the roadway up to the subgrade for aggregate installation and paving.

  • The proposed 2021 project for roadwork on First Avenue North, Fifth and Fourth Street Southwest, is being pushed back to 2022 due to the lack of bonding bills at the state level.

  • The council approved the request of the parents of the 2021 senior class to block off a portion of First Avenue South in front of the Comet Theater on Sept. 25, for a class street gathering. The gathering is being organized by the parents of the senior class. The event is intended to be a fun socially distanced event in place of the normal senior events that will likely not take place this year due to COVID-19. The event will include food, music, games, possibly a movie, and be heavily chaperoned.

  • The 2021 budget meeting is scheduled for Friday, Sept.18, at 7 a.m.

  • The Perham Area EMS semi-annual meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. at the Perham Fire Hall.

  • A special council meeting and Committee of the Whole meeting are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 5:15 p.m.

  • The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 12, at 5:15 p.m.

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