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New event center near Osakis gets go-ahead

A new option for holding special events will soon be available near Osakis.

At its June 19 meeting, the Douglas County commissioners approved a conditional use permit for Virkus Properties LLC to allow a special event facility for up to 500 people.

The property, Crooked Willow Wedding and Events, is in Osakis Township on County Road 82 between Nelson and Osakis.

Crooked Willow, which used to be a place to buy antiques, is now a wedding and event center. Derek and Jody Virkus bought the property in February and have remodeled it into an events center.

The conditional use permit that was approved includes nine conditions. Among them:

• Special events permitted at the facility shall include private music events, organizational gatherings, business meetings, weddings, reunions, church gatherings, benefits and similar events.

• The duration of any event cannot exceed 24 consecutive hours and attendance cannot exceed 500 persons.

• Hours of operation can be from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and all outdoor music and noise exceeding the maximum decibel level per the county noise ordinance must cease by midnight.

• A parking plan shall be developed and submitted for approval and will include parking for at least 200 vehicles. No parking will be permitted on any public road right-of-way.

Dave Rush, the county's Land and Resource Management director, said the owners have options to deal with the septic system, including the use of port-a-potties and/or increasing the size of the holding tank, among others. He said the owners have hired an advanced septic system planner to help in meeting the septic system conditions.

The township had no concerns with the property being used as an event center, Rush said, and it will be similar to other wedding/event venues in the area.

Commissioner Charlie Meyer abstained from the vote. The other four commissioners voted to approve the conditional use permit.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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