He was longtime fire chief in Crookston.

    Having already taken a number of steps in preparation of demolishing the former Z Place and Rock’s Jewelry buildings, the Polk County Board of Commissioners has hired Richard Rock, retired Crookston fire chief, as a consultant to help get the project going this fall.

    "Plans for demolition have been in the works for a while," said Polk County Administrator Chuck Whiting. "The board decided to move forward and now staff is working with Rock and the City of Crookston so a coordinated plan can be developed to demolish the buildings in November or December."

    Among Rock's duties are to obtain contractors' quotes for the demolition and removal of the buildings and setting up a timeline for the work. He has extensive knowledge of the buildings from dealing with them in his role as fire chief.

    Z-Place had briefly operated as a retail store in recent years, but has been largely vacant for more than a decade and is in very poor shape, according to county officials. Asbestos removal was done a few years ago.

    The county purchased the Rock's building for $25,000 in June to include in the demolition project of Z-Place. As retiring County Administrator Jack Schmalenberg explained, the board decided it would be in everyone's best interest to purchase the building, as demolition would be much easier and cheaper by not having to tread so carefully so as not to avoid damaging the adjoining Rock's building. At that time, the county had hoped to get the demolition done in the summer.