Save Station 19 from the U

The University should stop bullying Station 19 owners with threats of eminent domain.

The historic Station 19 building on the corner of Oak Street Southeast and University Avenue Southeast falls in the shadow of the proposed Gophers stadium, and the University is doing its best to own it.

The University community should take concern over this issue. The Station 19 building is a nationally recognized historic building and is more than 100 years old. The University tried to purchase the building before but the community fought it. Since 1977 Darrell LeBarron has owned the building, where he houses his architecture firm Station 19 Architects.

Just because the University wants to build a stadium, it doesn’t mean it is acceptable or at all necessary to own everything around it. The University claims it isn’t sure what it would make of the building. Possibilities include a museum or a ticket booth. Even the University recognizes the building doesn’t need to be torn down, so why ruin the livelihood of LeBarron’s architecture firm, and why ruin the historical integrity of the building? Old buildings can’t be replaced, but a new stadium site can be designed to allow for one building on the corner. After numerous bargainings from LeBarron, the Prospect Park Neighborhood and the University, none of the parties budging. The University has threatened LeBarron with the eventual ends of using eminent domain to gain rights over the building’s future, basically telling him that if he doen’t sell the courts will force him to give up his fight.

University community members need to voice their opinions against the University devaluing this vital part of Minnesota’s history and LeBarron’s personal investment.

The University needs to realize we don’t need another museum with more trophy cases and more autographed photographs of our football team’s past heroes. Those things can be found in the entrances of all stadiums, arenas and field houses. There is no reason to take the life out of Station 19, as well as the life out of those who have taken care of it for the past few decades. Most of all, the University shouldn’t resort to essentially stealing land via eminent domain.