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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
  • Initiative to restore foundation of national Granite Falls landmark is progressing

  • The Andrew J. Volstead House has withstood 134 years of Minnesota weather. The Granite Falls Historical Society wants to see it endure 134 more.During Monday's Granite Falls City Council meeting, Eugene Dwyer of LSE Engineers, Le Sueur, was on hand to present findings and recommendations for the restoration of the V...
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  • The Andrew J. Volstead House has withstood 134 years of Minnesota weather. The Granite Falls Historical Society wants to see it endure 134 more.
    During Monday's Granite Falls City Council meeting, Eugene Dwyer of LSE Engineers, Le Sueur, was on hand to present findings and recommendations for the restoration of the Volstead House foundation.
    For years the Granite Falls Historical Society has taken note of a weakening substructure of the National Landmark. This past year the organization was awarded a $5,500 grant by the Minnesota Historical Society to fund an inspection and recommendation for Volstead House repairs.
    Dwyer visited the site along with Bob Claybaugh of Claybaugh Preservation Architecture on August 15 and confirmed historical society expectations, recommending extensive amounts of restoration, plus the removal of three problem trees, totalling $125,000.
    Though he said the situation was not urgent, Dwyer recommended that the city and historical society continue to move forward with the repairs without delay. To aid the historical society in the pursuit of future grants, he suggested that the city have a contractor provide a project estimate to back his own numbers at an expense he expected to be under $1,000.
    Historical society member Terri Dinesen noted that all of the restoration work would be performed so to uphold the Volstead House's historical integrity. Early next year, she said the organization intends to apply to fund the project through a Legacy grant.
    According to Dinesen, individuals in-the-know informed the historical society that while the Legacy grant does not require a local funding match, it is necessary if the project is going to be approved. At present, the historical society has $30,000 in donations, leftover from the organizations failed attempt to acquire and relocate BNSF Depot, that it would like to use for this purpose.
    In the end, council members resolved to pay the cost of a contractor's project estimate that would keep ball rolling on the effort. In addition, they offered verbal support for historical society's activities and grant initiative.
    "It's a good step in the right direction," said Dinesen.
    In other news:
    Following a brief presentation from Granite Falls Riverfront Revitalization member Steve Virnig, council members approved the location and layout plan for a frisbee golf course in Rice Park.
    The idea for the course arose last spring during an Incommons Listening Session held at Bootlegger's Supper Club. Since then, Virnig has spearheaded the effort.
    In July the initiative received a major boost when the project was selected to receive an approximately $5,000 grant for course materials submitted on behalf of the community by Clean Up the River Environment (CURE).
    Designs includes a 9-hole course positioned adjacent to the Minnesota River running throughout Rice Park. Council members expressed little concern over the course layout, asking only that the design avoid a park bench and planned lift-station site.
    Page 2 of 2 - According to Virnig, there is over 200 frisbee golf courses in Minnesota with more only recently turning up in rural portions of the state, such as in the communities of Montevideo and Clarkfield. Beyond offering a family-friendly past-time, Virnig also believed that the course could aid in tourism.
    Thus far, Virnig said the local feedback he has received from the community has been extremely positive from both youth and adults. It is hope that the course construction will begin this October.
    "It provides another addition to our community by providing a healthy activity at no cost," Virnig said.
    •At the recommendation of the EDA, council members approved the deferral of a $30,000 loan to Professional Building owner Shawn Tolifson for four months.
    The EDA loan was approved in April of 2011 to assist Tolifson with the repair of the interior and exterior of the Prentice Street located structure. The loan was divided into two parts –– both of which were deferred over a period of 18 months –– with $5,000 of the $30,000 deemed forgivable if a Certificate of Occupancy was obtained prior to October 15, 2012.
    Tolifson began making improvements to the exterior of the structure this summer and is set begin work on the interior soon. The EDA recommended that council defer payment on the principal of the loan until February 15, 2013, at which time he would also be forgiven $5,000 if the Certificate of Occupancy had been obtained.
    In the meantime, Tolifson would continue to be responsible for interest payments on the loan of $62.50.

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