Loppet completes Trailhead agreement following contract dispute

Photo courtesy Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The Loppet has officially donated the new welcome and adventure center at Theodore Wirth Regional Park to the Park Board after a dispute over payment with a contractor.

The donation comes two months after officials from the nonprofit and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board celebrated the grand opening of the $11.6 million Trailhead project, a 14,000-square-foot home for Wirth’s cross-country skiers and mountain bikers. It also features some offices for Loppet staff and a rental shop for parkgoers.

Legal counsel told park commissioners at a Sept. 5 meeting that a $419,614 lien had been placed on the property, though the amount in dispute was somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.

A Park Board spokeswoman said the board officially accepted the donation of the Trailhead. Superintendent Mary Merrill said she had thought the Loppet had satisfied the agreement by the time of a July grand opening event and that the donation was going to be executed.

In a Sept. 11 statement, the Loppet said it had agreed to a final cost with its contractor and entered into an agreement to finish remaining construction items.

“The Trailhead looks beautiful and we look forward to seeing people enjoying it for years to come,” said David Kalogerson of Kalcon, the construction contractor, in a statement.

President Brad Bourn said John Munger, the Loppet’s executive director, “quickly and diligently” took care of the issue by a Sept. 10 deadline.

“We’re very glad to have our partners ready to go,” he said during the board’s Sept. 12 meeting.

The Loppet is already preparing for its first festival at the Trailhead. The building, located just southwest of the Wirth Chalet, will be home to the City of Lakes Loppet Festival’s vendor area during the event next January and February. Registration for four 2019 Loppet events are now open.

The Loppet expects the facility will draw 300,000 visitors annually. Cajun Twist, an on-site eatery serving New Orleans cuisine, beer and wine, will open this winter.