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Historic Dodge County structure in danger of removal

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Kasson's historic wall at Veterans Memorial Park

KASSON, Minn. (KTTC) - It's a remnant of a trying time in the nation's history.

"History for us, as well as history for generations to come," said Jane Olive of the Mantorville Restoration Association. "To be able to remind people that this was here from those people at that time."

The limestone pillars and wall at Veterans Memorial Park was part of a Works Project Administration program.

Its construction helped employ men in the town when jobs were hard to find.

"That wall is an example of limestone that comes right from here, being build from people right from here, during the Great Depression, when there wasn't more money to be had," said Olive.

However, the structure was identified as a potential safety issue back in October.

"It needs some repair," Olive said. "It needs some serious repair but it's not a safety hazard. It's not going to fall on anybody."

"The real trick is the council is trying to balance the needs of the budget and public for safety but also the historical concerns people are bringing to the table," said Kasson city administrator Timothy Ibisch.

The biggest trick is getting around the price tag. The city of Kasson was quoted more than $220,000 to completely rebuild the wall.

"We're trying to identify other means where we might be able to fix the different areas of the wall so it will be slightly less cost," said Ibisch.

However, the Mantorville Restoration Association believes this figure is greatly exaggerated and can be done for less.

"It's not a huge project at all," said Olive. "The basement here in the opera house is a huge project. That wall is not."

The community is fundraising to preserve the structure, but the city has set a deadline of April for their efforts before it decides what to do next.

"I think the council is open to all options. They set this target to see what kind of public support there is for it," concluded Ibisch.

Alex Tejada

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