FAIRMONT - Red Rock Center for the Arts has been transformed from a crumbling eyesore to the go-to destination for the Fairmont art scene since preservation efforts began in 2002.
But renovations aren't quite complete.
Red Rock is in its final push to raise money to replace the front steps of the building and upgrade the rear parking lot, projects made more complicated by the building's listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
"Very specific guidelines must be met and the new steps must match the old in design, color, texture and materials," says director Sonja Fortune. "Limestone is very costly, along with the labor, resulting in a $30,000 to $35,000 project."
Donations for the work have been gathered over the years and, with a Minnesota Historical Society grant of $21,000, $14,000 remains to be collected before the step project begins in March 2013.
Fortune said the work cannot be put off because of the severity of the deterioration.
"The joints have shifted and caused crumbling and cracking beyond repair," she said.
Work in the parking lot also has become a necessity, according to Fortune.
"Since [Red Rock] opened in 2005, Martin County Preservation Association's hands were tied and [it] was not able to add any rock to the surface since there was no drainage point," she said. "As a result, the parking lot stood with puddles of water and layers of ice in the winter, resulting in unsafe, messy conditions for our patrons."
The parking lot project received a grant from Fairmont Area Foundation to the tune of $3,500. The remainder of the $10,000 cost was paid for through savings, with hopes of replenishing the funds through savings on future repairs.
"With winter fast approaching, [the association] went ahead and added the drainage and tile which had to extend to the alley west of Red Rock, and re-surfaced the parking lot using crushed rock," Fortune said.
Proceeds from the Tuesday Lunch with the Arts noon concerts will be used for the front steps and the parking lot, and the organization is accepting donations.
Those wishing to donate can make checks payable to: Martin County Preservation Association c/o Step Up. Send them to:?222 E. Blue Earth Ave., Fairmont MN 56031.