Editorial: Terminal building is not historic
The city of Willmar is correct in challenging a state agency's recommendation that the old airport terminal building and surrounding acreage be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The city will submit a letter and supporting documentation challenging the recommendation from the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office. The city's challenge will be forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register, whose office will make the final determination.
The state agency ruled that the terminal has historical significance as it was built in 1941 as a National Youth Administration project with federal New Deal funds. In addition, the report cited the terminal's complex wooden roof trusses as a rare surviving example of the work done by the NYA's work effort.
The keeper should reject the state agency's historical recommendation for several reasons.
* No one in Willmar supported the belief that the terminal has historical significance to the city.
* The terminal building has environmental challenges due to severe mold development within the building and its walls.
* The terminal building has structural challenges due to decay and water seepage issues within the building.
* No one any longer is championing the preservation of this building due to the significant cost of preserving and rehabilitating the terminal building, estimated to exceed $1 million.
* This historical designation decision is also holding up all development on the old Willmar airport land, which is harming economic development for west central Minnesota.
The keeper should reject the historical building recommendation and allow the city to proceed with the needed economic development of the old airport land.