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Published August 11, 2010, 12:00 AM

Woodlawn neighbors want cabin to stay

Residents of the Woodlawn Park neighborhood in Moorhead want their log cabin to stay.

By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

Residents of the Woodlawn Park neighborhood in Moorhead want their log cabin to stay.

That was the consensus of a neighborhood meeting on Tuesday night at the Moorhead Public Library hosted by city officials.

One purpose of the meeting was to let residents know of proposed improvements to the park, including resurfacing of existing tennis and basketball courts, construction of a small picnic shelter and a new playground.

The other reason for the meeting was to let residents voice their opinions about options being considered for the historic log cabin that sits on the eastern fringe of Woodlawn in the 300 block of Fourth Street South.

The cabin has been moved several times since it was built around 1859 as a stagecoach stop along the Red River in north Moorhead.

It has been in the current location since the early 1930s.

The cabin, which has been prone to flooding and is considered unsafe, has been idled since 2009. But before that, it was used for community celebrations and as a folk art center.

Several plans for moving the cabin have come and gone.

The latest is a suggestion to move the cabin to Memorial Park – east of the Hjemkomst Center – at a cost of $96,000, with the money coming from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

That idea didn’t sit well with the 20 or so neighborhood residents who attended Tuesday’s meeting, most of whom indicated by a show of hands they want the cabin to remain where it is.

Mike Hokanson, who lives next door to the building, said he has collected 146 signatures from passers-by, all of whom indicated on a petition that they support keeping the cabin where it stands.

He said one person wrote on the cabin petition: “It’s gnarley Dude.”

Hazel Retzlaff, who moved into a house across the street from the structure a few years ago, concurred.

“I don’t see any point in moving that log cabin. I think it’s a wonderful part of the neighborhood,” she told city officials Tuesday.

Yvonne Gunderson said the cabin is an important feature of a park that recently saw amenities such as a wading pool and playground demolished.

“For me, the cabin has always been part of our neighborhood. We don’t have a lot left,” Gunderson said.

Gloria Weisgram spoke passionately about keeping the structure where it is.

“I will not stay in Moorhead if that cabin goes,” Weisgram said.

City officials said the cabin could be made safe in its present location with an investment of about $25,000.

City Council member Mark Altenburg said the question will be discussed at a parks advisory board meeting set for 4 p.m. Tuesday in the lower level of the Hjemkomst Center.

He added that the issue will also be discussed by the City Council before a decision is made.

City officials said Tuesday they are considering making changes to Woodlawn’s popular disc golf course, including moving the starting hole from the south end of the park to the existing north parking lot, which would require an expansion of parking in that area.

The changes are contemplated as a way to separate the golf course from the proposed new playground and picnic areas, officials said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555