Updated: 05/15/2014 6:26 PM
Created: 05/15/2014 6:22 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Despite a long road of controversy, the ShopKo project in Kasson is another step closer to taking shape. Today, multiple homes in Kasson were demolished to make way for the project. ABC 6 News was the only TV station there as the first house was torn down.
Demolition has begun. Three houses along Lions Park were flattened, as the City of Kasson makes room for a new ShopKo building.
"Normally I have a park and house out my back door,” said Jamie Finne, Kasson Resident.
For neighbors like Jamie Finne, making way for new development takes a part of history with it. "Watching the park equipment go away, the Prairie Stone Coffee Shop go away and now my neighbors houses are going away, so it's very sad, depressing,” said Finne.
"This was a nice park and it was used a lot and now there's going to be a big brick building there,” said Ron Musolf, Kasson Resident.
In a last ditch effort to save the park, residents sent a petition to the Environmental Quality Board, or EQB, asking the city to fill out an "environmental assessment worksheet". But Wednesday night, the city said it had already followed those measures and it wasn't necessary to do so again.
"We've done the exercises to make sure that everything is ok environmentally, traffic study, storm water management, that all is going to the EQB to show them that we've done our homework,” said Randy Lenth, Kasson City Administrator.
So plans continue to move forward.
"It's a big change for that neighborhood, I understand that and I get that, however it is a good change for the City of Kasson as a whole,” said Matt Nelson, Mayor of Kasson.
As the homes were coming down, the playground equipment was also being moved out, piece by piece. They also took out more than handful of trees.
"Oh I’m sure through the years it will be all forgot about and it will be fine, but right now it's kind of a sore spot in everybody who lives around here,” said Musolf.
City officials point to a future with more jobs and more business. But some, like Jamie Finne, simply don't want it in their backyard. "I know it has to take place in order for that store to go up, but to see the neighborhood go away to make room for commercial is sad,” said Finne.
The playground being hauled off will be rebuilt just around the corner at the soon to be new Lions Park. Meanwhile, demolition on a fourth house is scheduled for next week.