Judge hears arguments on old Kasson school building - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Judge hears arguments on old Kasson school building

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KASSON, Minn. (KTTC) --  It was standing room only in Dodge County District Court Monday morning where a judge heard arguments on the future of the old school building in Kasson. For seven years the issue has divided the town and now within 90 days we'll know whether or not the judge will prevent the city from leveling the historic landmark.

The Dodge County Courthouse was packed with people wanting to show their support for saving the old school building in Kasson.

"We only have so many of these resources and it really changes a town when you start destroying the fabric that they were built from," said Anthony Moosbrugger, attorney for the building supporters.

The old school building was built in 1918. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For now it's still standing but the case is under advisement. That means its fate lies in the hands of the judge.

"I think enough time has passed that people just want to see a resolution," Kasson Mayor Tim Tjosaas said. "From conversations I've had it's time to move on. To reuse the building at costs of anywhere between $4 million and $8 million really isn't the best use of city resources."

If the judge dismisses the lawsuit, the city says it has a plan and more than a million dollars set aside to carry it out. It was on the market for three months. The listing expired and the city says they're not interested in selling.

"Cause we felt we had a better opportunity to reuse the site as a library and storm shelter," Tjosaas said.

Interested buyers have come forward with a desire to renovate it.

"Certainly there are people ready and willing to do so," Moosbrugger said. "I don't really think there's much of a question, if given the opportunity, the school does have a future."

Chris Cuomo was one of three behind the lawsuit.

"It's a historic building. It's an old building," Cuomo said. "I do believe waste not, want not. We don't have to tear it down to put up something new."

"I've said all along I understand people who want to save the building," Tjosaas said. "By the same token I have to take the needs and the fiscal responsibilities for the whole community. We have to try to do what is best for the city as a whole."

The city is counting on a FEMA grant to pay for 75 percent of the library and storm shelter, the rest will come from a city fund.

The city estimates it will be responsible for somewhere between $1 million and $1 and a quarter million dollars.

A decision should come from the judge within 90 days.

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