Commissioners need to think to the future on highway building

To the Editor:

I just read the article about the county thinking of purchasing the Roverud building. They hired an appraisal company to do a job they must have thought they were OK if they hired them. Now they express doubt about the appraisal. Think about it: The building sits on Hwy. 44 on the edge of a town of 1,300 people (nothing against the town). It’s an outdated building around 40 years old. The building would need to be remodeled for offices and for the larger equipment the county highway department owns.

We bought property to build a building. Our commissioners need to think out 40 to 60 years, not just for today. They need to do what forward thinking counties do, look to where you will be in future years.

I see all too often where someone quits a business in a city and the county or city buys the property for more than it would ever have bought on the open market.

The county assessor making the statement to compare the property to that in Rochester (population 108,000 or Winona (population 27,000) is a joke! There are only 18,000 people in our whole county. You need to compare this property to those in Mabel, Preston, Houston, Rushford, Lewiston, Plainview, etc. Plus, most important, you need a “buyer,” not a bailout.

The building has been empty for eight to 10 years. I haven’t seen a line of people waiting to purchase. If our commissioners were purchasing it for their own use they would be going to the owners like the Grim Reaper to strike a deal, but because they have a chest of money (ours) they go like King David.

If the county at one time offered $1.2 million that’s when two fools met, one for offering and one for not taking it. Let it set there. The taxes are being paid, so I suppose it’s taxed on what the owner feels it’s worth?

Go back to the land we own and do the right thing for our long-range future. That property is paid for and we don’t need another one off the tax rolls.

The State of Minnesota built a new highway department shop in Caledonia – Industrial Park 20 plus years ago. A couple of years ago they tore it down as it was outdated and built a new one. Now our county wants to buy a 40-year-old building, outdated for our equipment and remodel it to fit.

When you drive by the site they want to purchase, look out the window at the people waiting in line to buy the property. At this time of the year we should stand our commissioners out there in the cold. They may get their senses back.


Harold Link

Caledonia, MN


  • glorious_melody

    Obviously Mr. Link’s glass is only half full and so is the information in his article. If you actually followed this issue closely you would know the state tore down the building you speak of because the building had structural faults. They had to tare it down per the insurance company’s requirement because it was a liability. If you actually knew what you were talking about you would know the Roverud building was built in the mid 80’s making in only 20 some years old not 40. And it already has offices, big offices. (Your article said it didn’t) Roverud’s built it to house big dump trucks and heavy equipment. Some bigger than anything the county has. So clearly no remodeling needs to be done. If the county built where you suggest, by the school, it was proposed almost $1Million to excavate and another $4-5 Million for a building. Why not utilize a 20 year old vacant building and save the tax payers $4-5 Million dollars. It scares me you think a 30-40 year old building is too old. Are you suggesting we rebuild the courthouse since it is over twice that old? Looking into the future, (As you suggest) the county would go broke! How many people live in homes much older than that, or schools for that matter. Maintain it and it will last a long time. I am glad the county is finally looking at ways to save money instead of spend, spend, spend. We don’t need another overly elaborate building to pay for like the new jail. (which we are still paying for) It’s clear you’re not smart with money. Glad you are not a commissioner!!