Time for George’s nostalgia is over
George’s Ballroom still lives in the memory of many as THE place to go on a Saturday night, a place to listen to music, to dance, to meet friends. It was the scene of many a first date, engagement party and wedding reception.
But memory has to face reality every now and then, and the time for facing reality with George’s is here.
Brown County commissioners heard yet another report on the status of George’s this week. The former recreation hall is in bad shape, with trees growing through the roof and mold seeping deeper into the floor. Estimates say it would cost $5 million to fix it up, and that it would have to produce $30,000 a month in revenue to keep it going. It will cost $1 million to demolish, freeing up a prime corner of land in downtown New Ulm.
Commissioners are resolved to deal with the issue now, to seek a state demolition grant and take the building down. They tried selling it before, and even if they gave it up for $1 to someone, it would only be a matter of time before it was back on the county’s delinquent tax list, waiting for the county to take it over again.
Clearing the land now will free it up for development. Whatever happens on that corner, it will ultimately result in property tax revenue coming to the city, county and school district.
We agree with Commissioner Scott Windschitl that the building deserves a full historical documentation, with the salvaging the iconic George’s marquee and building signs, and whatever else can be saved. But the time for nostalgia is over. This situation has been going on a long time, and it needs to be resolved.