Local grain elevators are deemed unsafe

by Sadman Rahman

Though some grain elevator owners in the Twin Cities claim the buildings are safe, an inspection of Prospect Park’s Electric Steel Elevator  showed they’re not as sound as proprietors may think.
The Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association  designated $1,000  to conduct a safety study of the elevators, which are located east  of TCF Bank Stadium , to test the owners’ assertion. Though security measures are used to keep trespassers out, experts found those methods aren’t enough.
The buildings, owned by grain storage company Riverland Ag Corporation , are currently surrounded by fences and monitored by four security cameras, said Park Association Board of Directors Secretary Eric Amel .
Building inspectors found the elevators need tighter security measures, Amel said.
“There is no evident security staff, and the owners said that they won’t and can’t afford to staff security,” he said.
The University of Minnesota agreed to purchase  the land on which the elevators sit, but halted the transaction last month when the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission designated the land as historic and denied demolition.
University Director of Real Estate Sue Weinberg said  the preservation commission will consider the historic designation for six to 18 months., Dduring which this period the University can decide whether it would like to go through with the purchase.
The grain elevators, which have been vacant for several years, could be used as an art center, data storage space or dormitories by the owners or the University, Amel said. 
He said PPERRIA is looking to collaborate with Riverland Ag Corporation to discuss the best use for the elevators in the future.
“It is important to come up with a bona fide use, otherwise there is no argument here,” Amel said.