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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Bricks fix sought at old Cathedral downtown

  • Hegge wonders if damage wasn't intentionally inflicted.
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  •     The Prairie Skyline Foundation, after being contacted by City of Crookston officials, is taking action to try to shore up some loose bricks that have fallen from the old Cathedral on Ash Street.
        The bricks were brought to the attention of Crookston City Council members and Mayor Dave Genereux at a recent Ways & Means Committee meeting. Genereux said if public safety was a concern that action needed to be taken. Since then, Building Inspector Matt Johnson's office has sent the Prairie Skyline Foundation a "public hazard notice" that gives them 20 days to respond with a solution.
        Foundation member Kay Hegge told the Times Tuesday that the foundation has extended yellow caution tape on the property underneath the south wall where some bricks have fallen from high on the wall, just under the roof line.
        "We found a red brick in a plastic bag on the ground which makes me think someone hurled it up at the weak spot on purpose," Hegge wrote in response to a Facebook message sent to her by the Times seeking comment. "This means that the vandal(s) would have know which spot was weak."
        Still within its initial 20-day window to act, the foundation is seeking bids from contractors to repair the hazard, Johnson told the Times. If the situation isn't remedied when the 20 days expire, he said a second notice would be sent. If the matter still isn't remedied, Johnson said the city attorney would be contacted and a misdemeanor criminal complaint could be filed. The city acquiring the property through the eminent domain process because it's been deemed a public health hazard is a last resort, Johnson explained. Another option is the city making the repairs with the consent of the owners, with the costs being assessed to the owners, he added.
        Hegge said a Legacy grant application, due June 21, is in the works for an "updated structural conditions assessment" from an engineer.
        "This grant will guide our grant application for replacing the flat roofs on the sacristies," she explained. "Many people want to know if the steeples can stand without the support of the entire Cathedral, so we will include the cost of the engineeer's time to determine this."
        The Prairie Skyline Foundation's "reuse plan" for the old Cathedral can be found on the Crookston Cathedral Facebook page. On the page is also a photo of some of the fallen bricks, with one brick in a plastic bag.

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