PIPESTONE — The National Park Service invites public comment on the proposed demolition of Buildings 3 and 6 at Pipestone National Monument. Information is available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/PipestoneMission66Buildings, and public comment is open through Aug. 28.
The preferred alternative of the park’s General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (2008) envisions reducing development in the heart of the monument to restore the tallgrass prairie and prioritize the spiritual landscape. The buildings are no longer needed for park functions, and their removal will open up views of the quarries and tallgrass prairie.
The buildings were originally built in 1950 and 1958 as employee housing units. Building 3 is used as offices and Building 6 has been vacant since 2015. The structures are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and their removal will be an adverse effect under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The sewer line serving the buildings is failing. Repairs would be invasive and expensive. In addition, the buildings do not meet standards for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility. The park has explored options for relocating the buildings, but ultimately determined that approach is not feasible.
A public open house is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 6, at the Hiawatha Pageant Park Picnic Shelter. There will be brief 15-minute presentations at 5 and 6 p.m., followed by an opportunity to discuss and ask questions. Those attending the open house are asked to practice 6-foot social distancing and wear a face covering.
To participate in a conference call instead, planned at 5 p.m. Aug. 11, email firstname.lastname@example.org for call-in information.