Stalemate over Rochester's historic district

Rochester's Heritage Preservation Commission wants to create a local landmark district to ensure properties with historic significance stay intact. City Council had tabled this item last year during a stalemate between the Commission and property owners.

Posted: Jun 22, 2020 11:13 PM
Updated: Jun 23, 2020 6:12 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The historic significance of the 300 block of Broadway Avenue South, Third Street and First Avenue has been a point of contention between business owners and heritage preservation commission leaders. City councilmembers acknowledge it's time to come to an agreement. Shawn Fagan - the co-owner of Fagan Studios downtown still opposes the idea.

"We don't like the idea of other people having control over the property that we own, that have control over the property we invested our lives, our dollars and blood and sweat into," Fagan said.

Fagan is disappointed at how the HPC has approached the idea of a historic district.

"Unfortunately we feel like that's HPC's position," Fagan said. "Their vision stops and ends right there: let's save old buildings, we see that needs to be much bigger, much broader, much more visionary than that."

City Councilmember Mark Bilderback acknowledges the importance of maintaining history in Rochester - and is dissatisfied a decision keeps getting delayed.

"We've been through a lot and we're still battling and I want to let everybody know I'm extremely frustrated that we're still at this point," Bilderback said.

Rochester resident John Kruesel thinks city leaders' lack of action is why the District won't move forward.

"The charm of the past needs to be remained or needs to remain for those citizens that live here or those that come here," John Kruesel said. "They are lacking leadership in my opinion and sincerity."

Fagan is pinning the stalemate on the HPC.

"I think it starts with communicating and talking with us," Fagan said. "I have still yet to hear a single HPC member step into my building and talk to me or my neighbors that I've talked with. HPC still hasn't talked to any of the stakeholders involved here."

Council plans on revisiting this issue sometime in the future.

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