Round barn might be moved to Kingston from St. Michael

March 10, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Meeker County Board of Commissioners endorsed a proposal Tuesday to bring a historic round barn from St. Michael to a site just east of Kingston.

The move of the round barn, which is slated for demolition in September if it stays in St. Michael, will cost $275,000.

The round barn, built in the early 1900s, is one of fewer than 100 round barns in Minnesota. To preserve the barn, the Prairie Country Resource Conservation and Development Council is sponsoring the project to move the barn to the farm of Linda and Richard Stewart, east of Kingston, at 73291 Meeker County State Aid Highway 27.

There, the round barn will be used as an agricultural education center and gathering site for public and private use, said Commissioner Wally Strand, who is a member of the council.

The round barn, about 60 feet tall and 64 feet wide, was used for dairy farming until 2006, when the farm land in the St. Michael area was sold to a developer. The barn, owned by Richard and Ronald Lenneman of St. Michael, is made of wood with a stone foundation and has a completely self-supported roof without interior trusses or silo, according to the proposal application.

When it is moved, the round barn will be cut into nine large pieces, and loaded onto semi-trucks. Larry Stubbs of Stubbs Building Movers of Long Lake, is contracted to do the moving of the nine pieces.

A new foundation will be built for the round barn at the Stewart’s farm site, Hand ‘N’ Home Farm, where they obtained a bed and breakfast license as of Feb. 18. The Stewarts raise chemical-free vegetables using antique farm equipment, according to the proposal.

The barn will be put back together like a puzzle. The project’s architect will be Michael Knisely of Distyle Design of Golden Valley. Structural engineer is Rob Hutchinson of Innovative Structural Solutions of Albertville. The concrete contractor will be Dan Lipinski of Lipinski Concrete of Buffalo.

The roof and paint on the round barn will be upgraded once it is moved to Kingston.

But first, the project needs $250,000 for the move. Donations can be made to: Save the Round Barn, Farmers State Bank of Darwin, PO Box 128, Darwin, MN 55324.

The round barn will be used to display antique equipment and for educational tours about farming in the past. It also can be used as a site for private events, such as weddings and receptions, according to the proposal.

Odds and ends

In other business, the county board:

• purchased two squad cars for the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office from Tangen Ford of Litchfield at $21,880 each, without sales tax. The board also purchased a four-wheel drive pickup from Fenton Motors of Litchfield for $26,287.

• increased fees for the sheriff’s office. The civil process fee service was increased to $35, from $30. The mileage reimbursement was increased to the federal rate of 50.5 cents per mile, from 40 cents per mile. The sheriff’s sale fee was raised to $45, from $40.

• agreed to apply for a grant for radios for emergency response vehicles by Friday, March 14. The grant is based on how many seats are in a vehicle, so deputies will contact all the fire departments in the county for the information.

• donated a 1997 Dodge transport van from the sheriff’s office to ProWorks of Litchfield and Dassel.

• approved a leave of absence for dispatcher Sara Miller for 10 weeks to continue her education in law enforcement.

• permitted Public Health Director Diane Winter to change a paraprofessional position in the Women, Infant, and Children nutrition program to a registered dietician position, and change a vacant nurse position to full-time from part-time.

• entered a joint powers agreement with Stearns County and North Fork Crow River Watershed to have the sewer systems checked in the watershed.

• agreed to change the price of the Volvo road grader purchased Feb. 19 to $150,245 with trade-in, from $182,850. County Highway Engineer Ron Mortensen accidentally used the wrong numbers in his presentation to the county board. The price from Sweeney Brothers Construction Company is still the low bid. Mortensen apologized for the mistake.

• heard from Strand that the Kingston Fire Department received a $12,500 grant for dry well equipment.

• paid Duininck Brothers Construction of Prinzburg its final payment of $22,268, for a total of $521,360 worth of projects in 2007.

• entered a cost control and reduction agreement with Cost Control Associates for services such as telecom, electricity, natural gas, propane, water, wastewater and wireless services. The company is paid only a percentage of the savings it locates. If it can’t find any cost reductions, it is paid nothing.

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Strand said the Meeker County Fairgrounds has been using $400 a month in electricity during the winter, even though no one is there. Maybe the cost control associates will find out why, he said.

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