Rochester Parks Department Plan to Save Biermann House
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The city of Rochester has submitted a proposal for saving the Biermann House in rural southwest Rochester. Olmsted County, which acquired the property in 1979, had set this afternoon as the deadline for any interested parties to submit proposals for restoring the over 150-year-old building, which has sat empty and has deteriorated badly during the last several decades.
The home is also known as the Mayowood Gatehouse and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The list of its owners includes Doctor Charles Mayo and his family, who held the deed from 1907 until 1969.
The county’s request for proposals included 1.3 acres of land across the road from the Mayowood mansion, but the proposal from the Rochester Park and Recreation Department calls on Olmsted County to transfer ownership of the entire 70-acre parcel it acquired with the house in the late 1970’s. Mike Nigbur with the Rochester Park Department, says adding the entire parcel to the city’s park system would make the restoration project feasible and would align the proposal with the Park Department’s long-range plans.
Nigbur says a project leader, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, has stepped forward and has agreed to provide the estimated half-million dollars need to restore the historic structure. It’s estimated the restoration project would take about two years to complete.
The exact future use for the Biermann is not included in the proposal. Nigbur says the city would look to groups pushing to save the home and other community members to come up with a sustainable plan for operating the facility. A number of ideas have already been suggested, including a coffee shop or bike rental business with historical displays.
The only other proposal submitted to the county by Thursday’s deadline came from Powers Enterprises, headed by local businessman Joe Powers. A county spokesman says the two proposals will be reviewed and evaluated next week.