Originally published as a Letter to the Editor. Anoka Union. R.H. Anoka resident in 2005:
302 Fremont has been the subject of two and one-half years of political backbiting, infighting, personal vendettas and lies.
Eric Krahnke, the previous owner, purchased the property intending to preserve, restore and incorporate it as the hub of a beautiful residential facility to keep our elderly in our own community.
Former city councilmember Paul Pierce and Mayor Skogquist led an initiative to deny Mr. Krahnke the right to build such a facility. Mr. Pierce personally worked to circulate a petition to block the supposed "demolition" of 302 Fremont.
What he neglected to tell signers was that Mr. Krahnke never intended to demolish 302 Fremont.
As a former antique dealer, I saw many items sell for much less than they should have because their original finish had been stripped, their structure was compromised or their original packaging was missing or damaged.
I think of this each time I drive by 302 Fremont and see what has happened to this historic structure.
It has been lifted off the original foundation and the original windows have been discarded and the openings resized. The inside walls have been stripped to the 2 by 4's and original flooring, woodwork and fixtures have been destroyed or discarded.
It is in no way "original" and certainly will never be able to meet the definition of "preservation".
The Historic Preservation Committee apparently wanted to believe that the buyer of 302 intended to "preserve" the structure as an exmple of early Anoka.
Presumably, that was why the city of Anoka actually financed the purchase and "remodel" of the house, to the tune of $485,000, a fact few residents are aware of.
If the goal was to preserve a structure with historic significance, those responsible have failed miserably - and, at taxpayers expense.
Comments: It is now clear that it was the HRA, loaded with Bjorn Skogquist appointments and placed under Bjorn's assistant, the city manager,Tim Cruikshank, that made 302 the debacle and talking point that it has become. See www.ci.anoka.mn.us. The HRA was moved to the Administration department.
Comment: When an historic structure was moved in Sherburne County the proper procedure was to meet with and work closely with the State Historic Preservation Office to define the process in order to retain National Register status. This apparently was not done with Anoka's politically driven "historic preservation" of 302. . .it would have been too limiting.