by Joni Astrup
Two downtown buildings are a step closer to being demolished.
The Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) decided Monday, Dec. 12, to contract with Veit and Co. to demolish the buildings at 716 and 720 Main St. The buildings
are owned by the HRA.
Five companies submitted bids, which ranged from Veit’s low bid of $59,600 to a high bid of $108,500.
Asbestos removal in the buildings will begin the week of Dec. 26. Demolition of the buildings will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 3, according to Elk River Director of Economic Development Annie Deckert.
It is anticipated the demolition, removal and backfill process will be complete by the end of the business day on Jan. 9.
Deckert said today (Thursday, Dec. 15) that she was putting together a letter and map about the project to mail to all the business and property owners downtown.
The HRA, meanwhile, had purchased 716 and 720 Main in 2006, intending to eventually demolish them for parking. The issue of demolition came to the forefront recently after an inspection found a failed roof truss in 720 Main and an engineer expressed concern about a potential roof collapse due to snow.
720 Main has been vacant but the Arts Alliance was located next door in 716 Main. Concern about a potential roof collapse of 720 Main and its possible impact on adjacent buildings prompted the city to require the Arts Alliance to find another home. The Arts Alliance has moved into temporary quarters at 312 and 314 Jackson Ave. in downtown’s Jackson Place.
EDA commissioner: Important to keep arts group downtown
Elk River Economic Development Authority (EDA) Commissioner Pat Dwyer says it’s extremely important to keep the Elk River Area Arts Alliance downtown.
Dwyer said he’s very disappointed that the 716 Main St. building is being demolished.
“That was such a perfect fit (for the Arts Alliance). It not only gave them a place to do their thing but it also gave a nice aura to the downtown. I’m hoping that something can be done to keep them downtown,” Dwyer said during the Monday, Dec. 12, EDA meeting. “…Of all the things we do for downtown redevelopment, that’s one of the little gems that is already there that adds a lot to the downtown.”