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Crews from Hansen Construction work Friday to remove grain bins by the Spicer Elevator. Once asbestos reports are completed, the entire elevator will be removed this year. All the materials from the demolition will be recycled. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

Spicer elevator to be razed and recycled

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SPICER -- A grain elevator that had once been a vital part of Spicer's agricultural economy and skyline is being razed and recycled.

Crews from Hansen Construction of Spicer are in the process of demolishing metal grain bins, a grain dryer and towering elevator where -- for decades -- grain had been bought and sold and transported on long-gone rail lines.

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The unused buildings, located along state Highway 23 near Spicer's valuable beachfront property, had become a community eyesore.

The city wanted the blight removed so badly that its Economic Development Authority voted unanimously Jan. 10 to give the property owners $15,000 to help pay to remove the structures.

An asbestos report is still needed before the elevator and grain dryer can be razed, but work is underway to demolish the other buildings on the site.

It's hoped that once the demolition is completed the high-value property can be sold and developed for commercial use that will increase the town's tax base, said City Administrator Leslie Valiant.

She said the demolition probably would not have happened without the EDA grant. The property had been owned by Steve Olson, who died in 2010. His son is now caretaker of the estate, said Valiant.

Several of the grain bins in Spicer were removed last year and installed at the grain elevator in Grove City, which is also owned by the Olson family. The remaining grain storage buildings will be torn down.

Trevor Hansen, owner of Hansen Construction and general contractor for the demolition project, said nearly every bit of the demo debris will be recycled.

All the metal from the bins and the corrugated metal siding that will be stripped from the elevator will be taken to Phillip's Recycling Systems Inc. in Willmar.

The sturdy, wood-built core of the elevator will then be toppled onto its side and the boards fed into a wood chipper.

A magnet will pull out the estimated 20,000 pounds of nails from the chipped wood. Hansen said the nails will be recycled.

The wood will either be used for poultry bedding or be sold to FibroMinn in Benson where it will be burned and turned into electricity.

Cement from the structures will eventually be ground and used by a local contractor for road construction.

Recycling the materials instead of dumping them in the demolition landfill will save "thousands and thousands of dollars," he said.

Hansen expects the demolition of the bins to be completed by April. Once the asbestos report is completed work on the elevator will begin.

Valiant said a permit will be issued after the asbestos report is completed and that demolition must be completed within a six month time period.

Hanson said his company purchased the grain elevator in Kandiyohi from the Olson family. Their goal is to communicate with the old customer base there to see if there's interest in getting that facility operating again.

If there's no interest, Hanson said the Kandiyohi elevator will also be demolished.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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