Our view: Write the final chapter for: 'Honking tree'
Its remains hoisted with a forklift onto a flatbed truck that carried it to an open yard yesterday, Two Harbors' fallen "honking tree" waits. The longtime landmark that unofficially welcomed travelers to the North Shore, a wave of its branches in...
Its remains hoisted with a forklift onto a flatbed truck that carried it to an open yard yesterday, Two Harbors' fallen "honking tree" waits.
The longtime landmark that unofficially welcomed travelers to the North Shore, a wave of its branches in response to their passing car-horn blasts, waits for a community to decide what to do with it.
A funeral of sorts was held. Flowers were left on its stump in the median of Minnesota Highway 61, where the tree stood alone after freeway construction in the early 1960s. On Sunday, four days after an unknown vandal or vandals (others are using stronger words) used a chainsaw to destroy the towering pine, mourners drove past, honking, offering their last respects.
A more lasting tribute is needed. A community meeting last night was called to start a conversation about how best to memorialize a Northland icon.
Wood from the fallen tree could be used for a welcome sign at its trunk. A skilled woodworker from the Northland -- or maybe a chainsaw artist would be more appropriate -- could work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
A new tree could be included with the sign -- its branches waving back at motorists.
The St. Louis County Board had to be frustrated. At least eight times since 1987 it has researched new ways to use its old jail building in downtown Duluth, which was abandoned when it couldn't comply with stringent new standards for lockups. Then, last week, the Duluth City Council voted against a demolition permit that could have helped the county rid itself of the decaying structure.
But selling the building to the city of Duluth for $1, as County Board members voted yesterday to give a try, wouldn't end the frustration. Such a sale would only transfer the jail from one government entity to another -- with taxpayers still on the hook for insuring, inspecting and making occasional repairs to the jail. The cost, according to county administration, is about $2,000 a month.
The jail needs a savior with deep pockets and a good plan. And fast. Within six months, we suggested in an editorial Sunday.
The county, preservationists and anyone with an
e-mail account can help spread the word. The historic jail is available. Free. Or nearly free. As long as it's saved.
But come Nov. 3, if no one has stepped forward, that demolition permit could be granted, finally letting taxpayers off the hook.