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Panel recommends modernizing historic fairgrounds building

By Jeffrey Pieters

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A committee appointed by the Olmsted County Board to study possibilities for the historic limestone Building No. 31 is recommending the building be modernized with a heating system, operable windows and nearby restrooms.

The cost for that — an estimated $185,000 — is the most expensive of three options presented to the county board last month. Support for that option comes from the county’s Park Commssion, which reviewed the proposal and endorsed it at a meeting last week.

"It’s a nice building — a beautiful, historic structure — and we’d like to see it used more than it is presently," said Dave Morrill, who serves both on the Park Commission and the county board-appointed Building No. 31 Committee.

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The committee was formed to examine alternatives to demolishing the historic fairgrounds building.

Fully restored, and with improvements, Building No. 31 could host wedding receptions, training sessions and conferences, and generate $40,000 per year in revenues, Morrill said.

Strong donor support also points to saving the building, Morrill said. Some donors have pledged financial support, while others have offered to donate services or discounted supplies. The $185,000 renovation and improvement estimate is a "true cost" that does not reflect any donated or discounted materials or labor, Morrill said.

weblinks.

Olmsted County Board http://www.co.olmsted.mn.us/departments/march_25_2008_agenda.asp

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