FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erin Hanafin Berg
o: 651-293-9047 x 3 | c: 651-353-1394
Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Reveals Porky’s To Be on
Annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Places List
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) had already planned to include Porky’s Drive-In on its annual endangered places list when major Twin Cities news outlets reported that the restaurant would close April 3. In February, PAM notified Porky’s owner Tryg Truelson that the property had been nominated as one of the state’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. PAM’s announcement of the 2011 list is scheduled for May 12.
Porky’s, which was built in 1953, has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Historic Preservation Act requires federally funded projects to be evaluated for their impacts on historic properties. Porky’s was found to meet the criteria for historic designation in 2004, when historic resources review was underway for the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit project. Under the terms of a Programmatic Agreement prepared by federal agencies, MnDOT, and the State Historic Preservation Office (and signed by consulting parties including PAM and the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission), the Met Council is required to prepare National Register nominations for Porky’s and 22 other historic resources along the Corridor before trains are operational in 2014. Listing in the National Register of Historic Places makes buildings eligible for state and federal rehabilitation tax credits, and provides access to some state, federal, and foundation grants.
Historic designation carries no restrictions for private property owners, although Minnesota statute would require completion of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) if the property was formally listed in the National Register. Federal law requires review for properties that are deemed eligible, though, so the impending closing of Porky’s and sale of the property to Episcopal Homes does raise some red flags. Tearing down the building without formal consideration of alternatives might be considered “anticipatory demolition” that could jeopardize access to future federal funding for new development on the site.
For these reasons, PAM had hoped to work with the present and prospective owners to find alternatives to demolition. Members of the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and Minnesota Street Rod Association were also interested in exploring options, such as establishing a Transfer of Development Rights or moving the drive-in to another suitable location. PAM and its preservation partners hope that Porky’s will not be razed before these alternatives can be fully considered.
PAM plans to proceed with including Porky’s Drive-In on the 2011 list of Minnesota’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. The formal announcement of the complete list will be made at the (Anti)Wrecking Ball on May 12. More details about this event can be found on PAM’s website.
About the 10 Most Endangered Program
The 10 Most Endangered Historic Places program is designed to spotlight historic properties that face imminent danger through demolition and neglect, organizational and financial challenges, and restrictive and inappropriate public policy. Through this program PAM seeks favorable outcomes that can be achieved through a preservation approach. Of the nearly 140 historic places listed over the life of this important program, two-thirds have been saved in part through the awareness generated by their listing.
About the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is a statewide, private, nonprofit organization advocating for the preservation of Minnesota’s historic resources. PAM was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1981 by Minnesota citizens concerned about the future of the state’s architectural and cultural landmarks. Since then, PAM has grown into a network representing thousands of voices across the state. Beyond our membership, PAM collaborates and partners with other organization and agencies from the national to the local level.