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Rochester downtown district hits road block

There are continued plans for a historic landmark district downtown but they have hit a bump in the road.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 12:54 AM
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 7:37 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. -  At the end of May, the Heritage Preservation Commission voted in favor of designating a proposed downtown commercial historic district as a landmark district, but the plan came to a standstill Monday night. 

There are several business owners downtown - at least 80 percent -  that do not want their properties on the list.

Those properties include Grand Round Brewing Company, Kathy's Pub and Fagan Studios. Michelle Fagan, co-owner of Fagan Studios, a photography business on South Broadway does not want to be listed because she wants to retain control of the business she and her husband worked so hard to build. 

"For the last 12 years, we've invested in this property and in this building and the idea of someone taking away the rights to do what we want to do with our property, it's crazy to me," Fagan said. 

Fagan is afraid she will have too much at stake being included on the list. 

"We have invested some of our life savings in these properties in order to make it something awesome," Fagan said. "The idea of turning that over to somebody or having someone take it without my permission, it's not good for business." 

But John Kruesel, the owner of John Kruesel's General Merchandise has been championing for a district for a long time and wants business owners to keep an open mind. 

"I'll say this, discussion's been going on for 45 years and I might suggest if we do not have a district, I think the City Council should just disband the Historic Preservation Commission," Kruesel said 

But it looks like we will have to wait to see which side comes out on top since City Council wants to have more conversations about this issue in the community before making any decisions but a decision will be made. 

"Not only has this been an issue since before some of the council members were here but probably an issue before some of the council members were born," Michael Wojcik, City Councilmember said. "We do have to come to a point where we have to make a decision."

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