By Anne Thom—
It was an event larger cities dream of, accomplished by a Minnesota township, with some help from surrounding communities. Displayed on a cake at the Stacy-Lent Fire Hall was a lease purchase agreement between the Town of Lent and the 1st National Bank of Hudson, North Branch, issued Aug. 30, 2002. In this dismal economy, the bank note was handed over this past week; from the bank to the township. The Stacy-Lent Fire Hall mortgage was paid in full.
“The mortgage is paid off, so what do you do, you throw a party,” Lent Town Board Chairman Gene Olson said. Olson said he had obtained a fire permit in spite of burning restrictions just for tonight. There were no worries; Olson had several dozen firefighters on hand. “We have the mortgage, we have a bonfire, we’re going to set this mortgage on fire,” Olson said to cheers and applause.
G. Olson thanked Pam Olson and Lent Township Clerk Laura Levasseur for organizing the event, Tony Matkaiti for the food and the bank that loaned the money and the citizens who had faith that the Stacy-Lent area could in fact organize and support their own fire department.
G. Olson didn’t forget Reiger and Gladys Olson, “the family that donated the land, they offered it very cheaply,” with the agreement with the town board that the land would always have a public use.
Monica Frischkorn, (formerly Abress), former Lent Town Board chairwoman, now resides in the south metro area but she didn’t miss this celebration.
Frischkorn proudly said, “I go around and I tell the story of this fire hall a lot. Residents have always been behind the [firefighters]. We have the townspeople to thank for this always. Thank you to all the Lent Township residents.”
She noted how the township residents had such an abiding belief in this project and their fire department that they continued to approve levies year after year to pay for it. “You build it, we’ll pay for it,” the board members recalled the community saying.
G. Olson nodded in agreement and said, “I attended several city council meetings and there were some exciting ones,” he said as he recalled the town board discussion on the proposal to build the fire hall and with it a local fire department.
As the former Lent Township board members responsible for the project, G. Olson, Frischkorn, Darla Schroeder and Charlie Peterson looked on, with community members and old friends, the Stacy-Lent Fire Hall mortgage note went up in flames. This was one fire that everyone cheered for and the firefighters just smiled and let it burn.