Letter to the editor:
We the citizens and taxpayers of Kasson do not have to be faced with litigation over the Historic Old Kasson Public School building. All you have to do is call, write, or email your Mayor, City Council, City Administrator and City Planner and tell them you've had enough. No more of your tax money spent on this issue-including demolition costs, no more tax money spent toward any exorbitant library plans, no more tax money spent on ridiculous "storm shelter" structures and tell them to sell the property.
Today we as taxpayers will benefit financially from the sale, we will increase our tax base by thousands of dollars to have an entire city block paying property taxes and once the building is redesigned and is a functioning commercial entity, the neighborhood and community will be asking themselves, "Why was this so difficult?"
Kasson does not need a bigger library. "Story time" for tots, book clubs and free internet access are not where I want my dollars spent. I prefer my money being used to improve our streets & drainage system, used to incentivize new businesses, improvements to fire and police departments... Toddlers, babies and preschoolers are beautiful creatures, but we don't need a new library to accommodate them. As for K-M's teens and tweens, they hardly use their school libraries. If they desire to "hang out" that place better sell burgers and fries or play music.
KARE did not reject all architectural drawings, pians or studies designed to consider reuse of the school. KARE actually helped to fund the studies and agreed with most of the adaptive reuses recommended by the architects and historians involved.
As for using a FEMA grant to construct a library-that almost sounds criminal. And proposing a "domed" structure? ... One that might resemble the Pantheon or Monticello, or to "even suggest that in 2013 you could construct a columnar entry facade" "just like the current building has," well that is ludicrous. And regarding "energy efficiency" in construction, the "greenest" building is the one that's already built. The previous mentioned studies make this point rather clearly.
If the City feels it needs a "storm shelter structure" the city (we the tax payers) owns many other properties, all suitable for such a structure.
KARE did not fail to find a reuse for the school. KARE's recommendations over the years include: putting the library and city offices in the building-the city council disapproved. KARE recommended selling the building for a reasonable price-the city council disapproved. KARE recommended a joint public/private project using a local developer-the city council disapproved. KARE has never offered to buy the school, KARE has no ownership in the building, which leaves the onus on the city.
Time has not caused any significant structural deterioration of the building. The interior damage caused by the copper thieves is unimportant because the majority of the inside of the building will be deconstructed to accommodate a retrofitted project, what makes this building unique in its structural integrity, lay-out design, outstanding craftsmanship overall, with emphasis on the exterior brick work specifically.
The reason to save this building has nothing to do with "emotional attachments." The reasons to reuse this building have yet again been explained.
The best reason to sell the old school to a private developer is that it will contribute a huge amount of commercial property taxes to our country, city & schools.
It the city keeps the property, demolishes the building, builds a new building, hires staff for the new building, heats the new building, and has running water and electricity in the new building - you will pay for all that and more. Do the math....
Former president of KARE &
Diane O'Brien Berge