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Decorah resident complains county board didn't fully study alternate uses for the North Building

Posted: Mon, Apr 29, 2013 9:46 PM

Decorah resident Carol Dowe on Monday told Winneshiek County supervisors they missed an opportunity with the Wellington North BUilding to make a historical building something sueful.

Dowe spoke for 40 minutes to supervisors, telling them they should not "just be tearing down buildings."  She said the North BUilding could have been converted into senior housing for a total cost of $300,000--or $80 a square foot for the 6,000 square foot building.

But she claims she was "muzzled" when she approached supervisors about other uses for the building.  "Because of the behavior (of supervisors, I opted out," she said.

Dowe told supervisors the $65,000 they spent on demolition of the North Building "is gone."  She told them to "search your heart" and look for ways to preserve buildings.

Supervisor Dean Thompson responded that the County Historical Commission worked hard on the project, but just because the work got done doesn't guarantee the community will want to save a building.  Supervisor John Logsdon told Dowe that if she wanted to save buildings, she should "get in front of some stuff" and organize and raise money, pointing to the work the Trails From Freeport group has done in a short time to raie nearly $100,000 for a trail extension into Freeport.