By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN “It’s the central focus of Delano,” said Jon Steinmetz while talking about the Delano Heritage Center, known as the old city hall, and more recently library, building.
Steinmetz is the president of the DelanoFranklin Township Historical Society, and said the old building needs to be renovated.
“For years it hasn’t been maintained,” he said. “The roof leaks, there’s no insulation in the building, and we need to renovate it while trying to keep the integrity of the building,” Steinmetz said.
In a report by Van Sickle, Allen and Associates presented to the City of Delano in 2007, it stated the building is in good condition given its age.
The structural evaluation it performed found that if insulation and vapor barrier is properly installed, issues of freeze and thaw in the exterior brick vener at the base of the east exterior wall will be mitigated.
It was recommended that an architect, experienced in historic renovation, be hired to develop a plan to review and make repairs to keep water and ice from working its way behind the brick.
Though the brick in general is in relatively good condition, recommendations were made for selective tuck-pointing of the mortar joints.
Other recommendations were a mold and asbestos survey, having an architect evaluate egress, fire protection, and life safety issues, making firefighting personnel aware of the massive brick cupola tower base supported on combustible timber roof framing, and roofing work to be done.
With the needed repairs in mind, the Delano-Franklin Township Historical Society will be hosting a recipe book fundraiser.
The recipe books will include Delano-area recipes as well as area historical information and photographs.
“It’s a big thing,” Steinmetz said. “Everyone uses the building, and task force is looking at future uses for the building and its a historical feature of the town that needs to be saved.”
According to assistant to the city administrator Luke Fischer, the City of Delano was granted just over $48,000 by the Minnesota Historical Society to replace the roof and add a fire suppression system at the Delano Heritage Center.
This grant is a matching grant, meaning that the city is responsible for half of the project cost. Delano must complete work by Dec. 1, 2010 in order to use the grant dollars allocated by the state.
The city anticipates making the improvements in the summer of 2010. The roof replacement and fire suppression system were identified as “high priority” improvements in a structural analysis the city commissioned for the site, Fischer said.
“Both projects should help to extend the life of the building and protect it from the elements and a fire,” he said. The city hopes to plan phased improvements, which would allow greater access and public use of the space. The city is excited that the historic preservation committee is actively working to promote preservation, particularly of one of Delano’s oldest buildings.”
The Delano-Franklin Township Historical Society welcomes new members. The group meets the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Delano Heritage Center.
“It’s hard to get people involved, and with the economy, it’s also hard to ask anyone for money,” said Steinmetz. “But, it’s important to preserve this building and Delano’s history.”
The search for Delano area recipes continues
The Delano-Franklin Township Historical Society is searching for Delano-area recipes or old recipes from residents.
Recipes can be dropped off at the Delano Senior Center with the following information:
• Name and phone number.
• Age of the recipe, if know, and where it is from.
• If you were born or raised in Delano, where you lived, and what year you graduated.
Orders will be taken for the recipe books at the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s Spring Expo Saturday, April 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tiger Activity Center.
One may also place orders by calling Jon Steinmetz at (763) 257-2963.