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Old airport concert venue rejected at city council

The idea of building a concert amphitheater on Wadena's old airport property was discouraged by officials and members of the public at the June 12 regular city council meeting.

Brad Morgan of unofficially incorporated B and M Promotions brought his summer concert idea to the council again, and about 20 people from the northeast Wadena area attended the meeting, with a few standing up at the podium and speaking against construction.

Morgan first approached the council in April, and was unable to make the May council meeting.

A number of concerns have been raised regarding Morgan's proposed project. Parking and noise seemed to be the main concerns during the June 12 meeting.

Morgan said he met with City Administrator Brad Swenson about using the old Pamida parking lot for overflow parking, and also received permission from Tri-County Health Care president and CEO Joel Beiswenger to use their parking lot when employees don't need it.

Additionally, Morgan said no more than 3,000 people would be admitted to the amphitheater because of overcrowding. He added that there would be security on site and concerts would end by 10:30 p.m.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said Morgan only got five households in the neighborhood to support the idea. Also, council members asked Morgan for more detailed information about his business background and roles in the entertainment business.

"I'm here to rent a piece of property," Morgan said. "I didn't know I had to bring my resume with me."

Morgan, who maintained his intentions were not to be a bad neighbor, added that he could fax a proper resume and letters of recommendation to the proper authorities. But he would not agree to give out his financial records or other business details.

When it was time for residents to speak on the matter, Kenneth Sanders said he was concerned about litter getting into his yard along Wadena County Road 4.

Additionally, Morris Roth said he wants to keep the area quiet.

Ben Landwehr brought up fire hazard concerns.

Other residents, like Mike Snyder, said they were never approached by Morgan regarding the project. Snyder was also concerned campgrounds would become overcrowded if the project was passed.

In the end, Wolden said he was not against progress, but added that he wanted to see more specific plans.

No official motion was taken, but Wolden said Morgan is not attracting much support.

Morgan insists he does not need to provide a detailed business proposal and background information because the mayor and council are not his business owners.

"They have no right to know what my business plan is," he said.

Morgan added that he did everything city officials asked him to when preparing his proposal.

"I was a guy that was willing to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to this town."

In the meantime, Morgan said he is not giving up on his venture.

"I think I'm going to go back again, probably in January and with my lawyer, and try to figure it out and see if we can't do it for next summer," he said.