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SE Minn. residents fight to stop demolition of historic school building

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A small group of Kasson residents have asked for a temporary restraining order in Dodge County Court in an attempt to stop the demolition of a historical school building in the southeastern Minnesota city, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The plaintiffs argue in the complaint that the abandoned public school building -- which has been vacant for 10 years -- should be protected under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.

Kasson voters rejected a referendum in 2006 to spend nearly $4 million to renovate the building, which was built in 1918.

However, when the city attempted to demolish the old school building, a local preservation group rebuffed city officials and got the facility on the National Register of Historic Places.

Reacting to the third lawsuit filed to prevent the demolition, Kasson city administrator Randy Lenth the city has exhausted its options to save the old school building.

So far the lawsuits have cost the city about $75,000 in attorney fees and staff time, Lenth said.

KTTC-TV says residents packed the Dodge County Courthouse in early May in support of saving the old school building.

At the May 6, hearing a judge after hearing arguments from both sides of the matter said he would rule on the fate of the building within 90 days.

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