Litchfield council votes to demolish Opera House
LITCHFIELD -- The Litchfield City Council has decided to demolish the old city hall building, also known as the Litchfield Opera House. The city will begin working to find out what needs to be done to be able to demolish the building, according t...
LITCHFIELD -- The Litchfield City Council has decided to demolish the old city hall building, also known as the Litchfield Opera House.
The city will begin working to find out what needs to be done to be able to demolish the building, according to Vern Madson, Litchfield's mayor.
The council vote was 5-2 at the regular meeting Monday, with Madson and council members Barb Altringer, Larry Dahl, Peter Kormanik and Gary Walz voting for the measure and council members Danielle Rodgers and Connie Lies voting against it.
Madson expects the process to be "an adventure" for the council because of the historic status of the building.
The Opera House was built in 1900 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was on the 2003 "10 most endangered" historic properties list compiled by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.
In a previous action, the council voted down a motion to sell the Opera House, with a minimum bid of $34,000.
The motion included that the buyer would be required to follow a five-year historic preservation plan and that the city would have the option to buy back the property at market value should the buyer wish to sell the building.
That motion failed on a 4-3 vote, with Madson, Altringer, Dahl and Kormanik voting against and Lies, Rodgers and Walz voting for the measure.
The Opera House housed the city hall and offices from the 1960s until October 2002, when it was closed due to mold in the building that was making employees ill. The council had been discussing what to do with the building since March of this year, when city offices were moved into the new City Hall across the parking lot from the old building.
In other business:
- The council instructed Chuck DeWolf, city engineer, to seek bids for a project to build a new pump house and to deepen a pond on the Litchfield Golf Course to allow the city to store water pumped from Lake Riley into the pond for irrigation of the golf course. The estimated costs of the project are $95,000 for the pump house and $150,000 for the pond deepening, including the removal of an island in the pond. Madson noted that the city's taxpayers would not be paying the costs for the project, but that the costs would be passed on to course users.
n The council approved the policy for use of the City Council chambers. Changes included allowing other government units, such as the county and school district, to use the room.
- The council denied a request from Meeker County to place a crosswalk in the middle of the block on Holcombe Avenue between the county's Family Services Building and the City Hall.