Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Oct. 9, 2000

55-signature petition presented over Werner building's pending demolition

By Lynda Jensen

A small group attended the Howard Lake city council meeting last Tuesday to raise questions about the impending demolition of the former Werner hardware building.

Pat Van Oss presented a petition with 55 signatures on it to delay the council's action on the issue.

Van Oss asserted that the building has historic value and should be preserved.

"There's a difference between being historic and being old," Mayor Gerry Smith said.

Smith pointed toward "major concerns" expressed in a report from the State of Minnesota by the Department of Transportation about the building's safety.

The report gave the building the worst rating possible. The reports were issued for buildings along Highway 12 in preparation for next year's highway reconstruction.

"This is the worst foundation," Smith said of the building. The joists are two inches off and there is a separation on the west side, he said.

Anyone looking at the northwest corner can see the walls are tipped, Smith said. Inside the building, the walls are cracked, he added.

"That (building) has always struck me as being a piece of wreckage," commented Marvin Repinski during the meeting.

What Howard Lake needs is a streetscape, Smith said. "We need to capture the value of the historic buildings we have," he said. However that doesn't mean every single building should be preserved, he added.

Resident Lorraine Luhman wondered why the building was sold to the city that intended to demolish it, instead of other interested private parties that might have restored it.

"It's beyond repair," Smith said. "It's time we moved on with that corner."

"I'm as historical minded as anyone sitting here," commented council member Don Danforth.

"What hurts me is that people make it sound like the city has been sneaking this through," Danforth said. "What can the city benefit from?" he asked "For what reason? What gain?"

The city has discussed doing this for three months and doesn't have anything to hide, Smith said. "We can't make you read the newspaper," he added.

"You can say what you want, but it's not repairable," Council Member Shelly Reddemann said to Van Oss.

"By that you mean economically repairable," Van Oss said.

"That's exactly right," Reddemann said.

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