From: Thomas J. Rohn
Why is the Money Creek Schoolhouse being torn down when there are two separate investors wanting to restore it to its historical significance?
There was a fire — in November/December 2016; owners were notified of complaints that the schoolhouse may be a hazard just sitting there. The owners were given two week’s notice to attend a Money Creek Council meeting, which was impossible due to distance, timing and money. They had suggested a conference call to Rick Frank of Houston Environmental. He suggested standing in as proxy to explain the intentions of the owners.
A list of demands that needed to be met in 30 days was given to the owners. It cost them $1,000 for transportation, housing, food, etc., to accomplish this endeavor. Some of the family came up to Minnesota in January to work on each of the demands. These included: boarding up the windows and openings to prevent people and vermin from entering, which was done; erecting a fence to declare no trespassing, which was done with signs that included the no trespassing notice, along with the owner’s name and telephone number to call if there were any questions or concerns; the area was cleaned up from foliage that grew around it; the township wanted the owners to install an alarm system notifying if there was a break-in, which was impossible to meet since there was no electricity hooked up to the house. Due to the impending snow storm the next day, they had to pack up and return home without getting a roof put on.
The township or county proceeded to take this matter to court. Because of the court date being set the owners wrote a letter to the judge explaining that they could not make it up to Minnesota but asked that the complaint be dismissed due to their efforts to meet the demands, or that they be conferenced in on the hearing due to the financial burden of making the long trip. They dismissed that date and set up another where the judge gave them an extension to finalize the township demands in August 2017. The owners were not able to make that date due to finances with neither of them currently working.
In October, the owner took his son who asked off from work to help drive the distance. They hired an Amish crew that would erect the roof while the owner stayed in Minnesota to see that it was finished. At that time, Angelique and Daniel Clark wanted to purchase the property after the roof was put on and continue restoring the property for themselves.
To much disappointment, the owner was told several excuses for why they could NOT have the roof erected due to having to haul the wood to New Jersey to be disposed of. Also, although the windows were secure and boarded up, they would have to be redone.
In the meanwhile, Gordy Hahn of Caledonia contacted the owner and said he wanted to take the project and restore the Money Creek Schoolhouse. Being a previous owner, he knew that the $14,000 septic system was still in working order, the water pump was fine and the well was one of the deepest in the area due to school regulations for safety.
Rick Frank said he would work with Gordy to allow him to take over this project and demolition that would cost the owners $40,000 and would extended the deadline until May 2018.
Unfortunately, before this could happen, a letter was sent to the owner notifying them of the destruction of the house. The contractor called the owners and wanted to be on the same page. They were not! They did not authorize demolition nor did they want the structure destroyed when there were investors willing and wanting to restore the historical sight. It would only cost a little more money than that to completely restore the Money Creek Schoolhouse due to the little damage inside, and they would never be able to recoup that money if it was torn down.