Former mayor’s house deemed unhistoric or historic ahead of city council vote | News

ROCHESTER, Minnesota — Following a City Council vote on Monday, new information has emerged from Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) Vice Chairman Barry Skolnick regarding plans to review the historic status of Former Mayor Martin Heffron’s boarding house at 219 Sixth Ave. SW.

Skolnick, who said he was not speaking on behalf of the HPC, said the commission first heard about the pension in 2021 but had to postpone its review due to a backlog of cases.

At the time, Skolnick said the Citywalk Apartments project did not include the razing of the former mayor’s house.

According to Skolnick, the old Heffron building was one of the first medical town boarding houses that provided room and board for Mayo Clinic staff during the early days of the hospitals’ history.

Skolnick said the building’s history was largely unknown to city leaders who were already working on a list of potentially historic buildings.

The HPC budget is about $10,000 per year, with an estimated cost of about $5,000 per historical exam, according to Skolnick.

Due to the city’s lack of resources, Skolnick said he took it upon himself to delve into the rich history of the Heffron House, working with other historians and even the County History Center in Olmsted as he attempted to track down the building’s hidden past.

Skolnick’s findings eventually materialized in the story of the Heffron House, which he presented to the HPC for a vote.

The HPC vote would have postponed City Council’s approval of the Citywalk apartment plan change and given the commission more time to determine its historic status.

However, the absences of the building’s landowner, along with the absences of three HPC members, resulted in 3-3 votes that deemed the property neither historic nor historic, according to Skolnick.

“Some people on the committee felt that since the owner was not invited to be there and it was not part of our regulations, he was there. We tried to see if we could postpone the designation of the project in order to do more research to get a definitive land marking study, but they felt that since the landowner wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be fair to do so. So the vote was a 3 against vote. 3,” Skolnick said.

Skolnick said he hopes other potential buildings will get more treatment than Heffron’s former home.

“I would like them to look at these buildings, especially older buildings, when they are first considered for ground markings and they may well do so in a calm manner, so that we know what it is. “acts, like a developer wants to take over what appears to be an old building. I just wish someone would do a little cursory research to find out if there’s anything worthwhile in the building,” Skolnick said. .

The next HPC meeting is Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Olmsted County Government Center.

Comments are closed.