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Letter to the Editor: Help save the North Building at Wellington Place

Posted: Tue, Mar 5, 2013 4:11 PM

Groundhog Day is my favorite day! He looks to the future!

The suggestion of just a few as being caught in a time loop is a bit of a generalization. The term Historic Preservationist is a labeling of a bunch of concerned citizens, for the real fact is that almost all of us are historic preservationists. If you have ever saved a wedding picture or family group picture from a couple of generations ago you are a historic preservationist. Technically, if you own anything created over 50 years ago you are a historic preservationist.
All of the folks that attended the supervisors meetings and also the Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission hearing concerned with the North Building at Wellington Place were there to not necessarily preserve the county building stock but to see that their ancestors and their own investment in the stock be effectively preserved. All of us want to see their "tax" dollars served well.

We all were lumped up as bunches of loop de loop stuck in the past volunteers causing a good bit of trouble.  That is far from the truth.  We all wanted to find facts and truths in the matter.

Some of us work in the business of retention of building stock, meaning we repair and renovate. We pay taxes, feed our families and believe in what we do as the right thing for the owners of the structure we work on. We realize that a good deal of energy and money went into a building when it was constructed and keeping it up is critical to retaining its value currently as well as in the future. Sometimes, but not all times, the building has extraordinary architectural features or craftsmanship that make it pleasing for all to view. Those buildings actually have an accelerated value because of those features.

Some are into recycling and realize the ultimate recycling is to keep the building whole and use the energy to create it over and over.  
Maintenance of a building gives it worth over many years. It is simple for most folks to realize to maintain your home is very important.  If you do not you will lose all the above and end up with a diminished assessed value.  The North Building has a current assessed value of $281,160.

Some were at the meetings to protect their hard earned tax money.
The county supervisors, except for one, have dismissed assessed value as a factor of worth for the county owned building. An assessment is the value placed on a property by the town or city's assessor's office for the purpose of determining the property tax due, a benchmark value of a structure.  
$281,160 is a good sum of money. That is the only figure I have seen publicly attached to a legal document as fact.  It would clear up many doubts if a statement of facts, figures and validation for demolition from the supervisors and the Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission opinion from the hearing were officially printed in the county official newspapers so folks know where that value went and how the structure was managed to this endpoint.

That only seems fair to all involved.

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