CORUNNA PARKS AND REC. Director Lisa Champion-Julian and city manager Joe Sawyer display one of a number of Halloween themed banners that will soon hang along a 90-foot portion of the western wall to create a backdrop for photos. The wall will be changed out for different events.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


  Just a short three weeks ago, city of Corunna officials – already planning on a simple, outdoor trunk-or-treat event – came up with a plan to transform the commercial building in McCurdy Park into a multi-use youth center. The commercial building offers an expansive 60-by-240 foot space that has in recent years often been used for storage or the Corunna 4th of July craft show.

   Corunna City Manager Joe Sawyer and Mayor Chuck Kerridge have been working in the Corunna Community Center to advance plans to offer that building for wedding parties and large-scale events. While working in the Community Center, it became evident that more storage was needed, even after building new storage shelving into the closeted spaces of the historic structure.

   In deciding to design and build an entire wall of storage into the commercial building to accommodate boxes of seasonal and holiday décor, Sawyer and Kerridge suddenly recognized just how much open space was available for city events in the barn-like structure – space that could be utilized for Halloween and other city events. Rolling their sleeves up, they quickly set to work with new Corunna Parks and Rec. Director Lisa Champion-Julian joining them.

   As of Tuesday, Oct. 19, the wall of shelving was nearing completion. All of the shelving is elevated 18-inches from the floor to allow for occasional spring flooding since the building is near the river. The shelving is located safely behind hinged doors that will be locked. The huge storage space will allow city organizers and groups to come in days or weeks in advance to decorate the commercial building space and not have the worry of time constraints found in the Community Center.

   The lighting in the commercial building has been completely updated. Strings of LED lights cross the roof. The new, programmable lighting is cost efficient and can be quickly changed to reflect the desired colors for any event, such as orange and purple for Halloween or red and green for Christmas. Corunna DPW recently added two additional rows of LED lighting above the string lights, bringing more lighting in for craft shows and other events. The lighting reflects off the metallic ceiling. The walls will soon be painted white and that will make the building even brighter.

   The western wall of the commercial building is set to become a 90-foot photo wall. For Halloween, photo banners will be hung all along the wall, depicting various Halloween motifs for community members to enjoy and use as photo backdrops. For the upcoming Pre-Deer Widows Craft and Vendor event on Saturday, Nov. 6, the backdrop will be a brick-wall. For Christmas and the Annual Festival of Trees, the wall will be draped with holiday backgrounds.

   Just beyond the middle, a tarp curtain has been hung. The far southern end of the building is currently housing parade floats and large holiday items. In time, the curtain will be moved back to expand the activity space even further. For now, in front of the tarp curtain there is a stage with bleacher seating – purchased from the St. Paul Catholic School auction. For Halloween, a musician will entertain young, school-age children on the stage. The city has purchased backdrop banners for the stage area, too, including disco, tie-dye, red-and-white striped and fiesta backgrounds.

   Opposite the stage will be a concessions area including tables. For Halloween, concessions will include cookies, candy, cider and other fall goodies. Donations of cookies and candy would be appreciated.

   The Halloween event planned for the commercial building on Oct. 31 is geared to younger, elementary-age children and will offer games for those age groups. Just outside of the commercial barn, the annual community trunk-or-treat event will also take place. Bathrooms will be provided through temporary portable toilet facilities, though in time, the city has plans to modernize the restrooms just east of the commercial building.

   The Spooky Monster Magic Show will be from 5 to 5:45 p.m. Trunk-of-treat will be from 5:30 to 6 p.m. The Halloween party will be from 6 to 8 p.m.

Corunna Commercial Building Transformed was last modified: October 26th, 2021 by Karen Elford