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Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

Est. 2014

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Sean Baker Editor

Bryan Lund Reporter

Isaac Jahns Reporter

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Corn tower's future still unclear

Corn tower's future still unclear

The Heritage Preservation Commission is poised to add the iconic corn water tower to a list of potential landmark properties on Tuesday.

Now, this may be a bit confusing since the commission has already given its support for adding the structure to the list. However, at the time of the original vote, commission members were operating under the premise that their motion was simply a recommendation to the Rochester City Council.

Recently, though, the city’s attorney office determined that, based on the language in the preservation ordinance, the commission has the authority to add properties to the potential list without ratification from the council.

Councilor Nick Campion — the first to raise the idea that the council had no reason to act on potential landmark recommendations — introduced a motion earlier this month to send the topic back to the commission.

It is worth noting that unlike the landmark property list, which requires council approval, the potential landmark list does not necessarily protect properties from demolition. If a property owner disagrees with a potential landmark designation, it can appeal the decision to the city council.

In the case of the corn tower, the owner of the property, Seneca Foods, has stated its opposition the potential landmark designation. It has, however, offered to gift the tower to the city if the city agrees to move it elsewhere.

Council President Randy Staver said he expects to hear more from Seneca about potential next steps. So far, the city has not made any decision on whether to take ownership of the tower or how to pay for a possible move.

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Cover photo: Flickr

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