Husk of Nashwauk gas station finally to be razed

This former Nashwauk gas station burned years ago and will finally be demolished this week.

This former Nashwauk gas station burned years ago and will finally be demolished this week.

More than eight years after the fire that charred and closed a downtown Nashwauk gas station, city officials expect the building to be razed this Wednesday, April 30. The owner of the building has fought for those years to keep the city from doing so, but never presented a plan or funds to repair the building or reuse the lot.

I drive by this burned out gas station every day. In many ways it’s symbolic of the economic and political condition of the Iron Range these past two decades. Bad things happen, sometimes because of factors out of our control. The result is blight, stagnation, and loss of function. The solution is delayed for fear of breaking the social contract with the old guard. Thus, an even worse situation is allowed to grow: the persistent¬†image of a failed Iron Range is imprinted on the minds of an entire generation of young people and visiting tourists and potential entrepreneurs.

Still, the tearing down of the gas station is only the beginning. Next we must see that space like this is used well, to inspire and grow our community and ones like it. The hard work is ahead, not behind.

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