Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grain Elevator: In the Balance

Just a few weeks ago it seemed like the old grain elevator in my town had been saved. But it turns out its future, at least for now, remains uncertain.

I think they're going to save the thing. But once again it's up to the city council here to do something once and for all. "I frankly think it's time for us to lead and to preserve the building," the mayor said recently.

The council voted last week to spend nearly a million bucks to buy the century-old building from its current owners. They thought about putting the matter before voters, according to the local press, but changed their minds.

I've written about this old grain elevator a couple of times since last spring. I can't help it: I think it's a cool old building. We've lived in this town for not quite fifteen years, so I can't say that personally, it's some cherished piece of our heritage. It is – but it isn't like I've been looking at it since I was a tadpole.

Anyway, the brainiacs who run this town are going to vote on the building's fate sometime next week. In all likelihood they'll vote to buy it and restore it, and then – what? Put in a Starbucks, perhaps?

We shall see.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Grain Elevator, Part Two

A few months ago I wrote here about a century-old building in my town that may be torn down.

The building in question is an old grain elevator that has outlasted its usefulness. It stands in the way of progress.

As I described it last spring, it's a rickety old thing that was forever shuttered more than fifty years ago. It sits next to some railroad tracks in what is apparently a primo piece of real estate. So its owners want to knock it down and build something profitable.

In April it got a reprieve. If someone could come up with a plan to restore it by July, it would not be torn down. The 109-year-old building has at least one unique feature – something called "stacked planking" construction – and its advocates say that makes it worth saving.

And they've done it. At least for now.

The city council in my town voted a few weeks ago – and I'll just quote the local press here – to "move ahead with plans to partner with a developer that would salvage" the old building.

"It's clearly an iconic structure that could become the representation of [our] agricultural history and what people think of [our town] in the long run," said our mayor.
So we'll give a real estate developer 2.1 million dollars and tax rebates to buy the grain elevator, and refurbish it for commercial or retail use.
As of a few weeks ago the deal still needs to be finalized. But it sounds like it's going to happen. I'm very pleased with how this has played out!