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Carver County, Scream Town strike deal to keep attraction open

It had ordered it to shut down on Thursday.

Carver County has come to an agreement with Scream Town owner Matt Dunn to keep the Chaska Halloween attraction open.

It will allow Scream Town to continue operations through this season, provided Scream Town hires its own private on-site security.

The county had canceled its security contract between Scream Town and the sheriff's office after Dunn posted a memo in which he asked for "zero tolerance" towards Somali customers after problems with 8-10 visitors this past weekend.

"The Sheriff’s Office contract with Scream Town remains voided, but County officials worked with Dunn and his representation to keep the business open through this season," the county said on Friday.

"The agreement ends the stop work order, allowing Scream Town to open this weekend and through November 3 as scheduled."

Carver County administrator David Hemze added: “Carver County does not tolerate discrimination from its employees or any businesses we work with, but we also understand that citizens want their government to be reasonable in their enforcement actions and this agreement allows for that.”

Dunn had planned to open anyway

The agreement comes after Dunn had suggested he intended to open Scream Town on Friday anyhow, in defiance of the initial "stop work" order. 

In an email to the Star Tribune, Dunn said he still intended to open Scream Town as normal on Friday night.

In a Facebook post Friday lunchtime, Scream Town wrote: "If you would like to visit us at Screamtown, We Are Open! ALL are welcome."

But a possible showdown with county authorities was headed off thanks to the new agreement.

On Thursday night, Scream Town posted a video featuring Dunn and Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Council of Islamic Relations–Minnesota, after Dunn had apologized for his insensitive messaging to employees.

"We found him to be very genuine about his apology to the community," Hussein said. "And we would like to move forward as a community.

"On behalf of myself ... and everybody at Scream Town, thank you for listening and accepting my apology," Dunn said. "What I said was wrong it was without thought and I realize I caused a lot of pain to people.

"I want to let the Somali community know that we love you, you have been coming out to Scream Town for many years and we really enjoy having you out there."

"You are welcome, as always," he added. "My deepest apologies and know you are welcome."

Scream Town was scheduled to run through Nov. 3. It provides numerous haunted experiences set on 30 acres of rented land just outside of Chaska.

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