Friends of Jorgen’s Park Preserve Board voted 6-2 in favor of not tearing down the barn in the park when it met Thursday, Sept. 13.
James Hayward, who is part of the Barns Now Program, shared his expertise on construction and craftsmanship.
“You have a beautiful site and a nice park,” he said. “The perimeter, framing and roof were all found to be in good shape. To save the structure, nothing needs to be done immediately. The most important thing to do right now would be to close up the building to weather.”
However, Carl Lantz, president of the Jorgen’s Park Preserve Board disagreed.
“Not everyone wants to keep the barn,” he said. “Labor and materials have to come from somewhere. Let’s face it, this is a liability. The only thing that people can come up with is to use the barn to store picnic tables.”
Dana Rima agreed with Lantz saying, “Reality is we just don’t have the resources.”
Gene Knutson said, “Things don’t get done if you have a negative attitude. Let’s design a program and figure out what we want to do with the barn.”
Heidi Hintz echoed his sentiment.
“We can’t, we won’t, we never will? We will never get anywhere with that attitude. It can be done. Let’s break it down into smaller projects and take it one step at a time,” she said.
“Get the community involved. Labor is the most expensive part. If you can get volunteers that will save you a lot of money. Give them small projects to do and the sense of accomplishment will bring them back for more.
“It will take a lot of time and effort, but it’s not a liability, it’s an asset that will bring people to your community,” Hayward said.
Trying to defend his position Lantz said, “I am not negative; my feelings are just not the same as yours. Those who voted in favor of this, now it’s up to you to restore it. That barn is nothing special.”
Don Holtebeck said, “You will lose the uniqueness of the park, if you tear it down. I grew up looking across the field at that barn. Things would just not be the same if it was gone.”
Mitch Swenson, who made the motion to preserve the barn, said “Originally, there was a dance hall on the property. It was dismantled, and the wood was used to build the barn.”
Hintz said, “Small steps. It won’t be an overnight project, but it is a sight to see and save. It’s part of the heritage of our community. That can never be replaced.”