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Rowdy Roddy Piper to invest in historic property’s redevelopment

FERGUS FALLS — Wrestler, actor and historic building investor Rowdy Roddy Piper came to Fergus Falls on Tuesday with developer Ray Willey to look at the former Regional Treatment Center and propose revisions to the redevelopment project at the City Council meeting.

Piper has held 38 wrestling titles and was one of the most well-known heels of Hulk Hogan. He starred in a No. 1 box office hit, “They Live,” and published a best-selling autobiography in 2003. While he still has a passion for wrestling, his focus has turned to preserving history.

“How are we to know where we come from if we don’t preserve our history?” Piper asked. “Especially something like this. That’s why Ray gave me a call, and I decided to fly down and take a look for myself last night.”

Piper and Willey have been friends for more than a decade, and the two occasionally work together on investment projects, they said.

Piper will fit into the redevelopment project by becoming part owner of a proposed sports bar, and Willey said he expects other athletes he partners with to join in as well.

“It’s the kind of thing in the summertime where this could be huge for business and for the city,” Piper said.

Mayor Hal Leland met with Piper and Willey in front of the Kirkbride building Tuesday morning.

“We know Fergus Falls has a bright future when we have people like this invest in the community,” Leland said. “We have to be as supportive as we can. It’s a new era we can all look forward to.”

Support from the community is crucial to the redevelopment project, and bringing in Piper is an opportunity for the firm to cross promote, Willey said.

“We have had wide, broad-based support from the community. We just couldn’t make things work if there was not that kind of support,” he said.