In January 2023 the Wisconsin DNR released its "final '' Report on the historic Potawatomi Tower. In its report the DNR acknowledges the historic Potawatomi Park Tower can be restored. But the DNR Tower Report does not include a restoration option unless it is coupled with either a heliacal or linear ramp. 

It continues to be the position of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society and the Potawatomi Park Alliance that the 1931 Potawatomi observation tower be restored in situ without further delay. The recent WDNR engineering study by GRAEF has confirmed earlier studies that restoration is possible and cost effective (A 2018 professional estimate came in at $250,000). We will continue to fight for immediate funding from the State as part of funds already in this year’s budget for maintenance of state facilities to begin the restoration process and prevent further decay of the historic tower.

The DNR's online survey excluded immediate restoration; it also prevented any comments from the public. Filling out the WDNR’s limited survey will only provide them with inaccurate data and therefore we request that those interested in preserving the tower NOT fill it out. Instead, we will share this alternate survey as a petition of all groups and supporters of preserving the historic tower. 

Restoring the historic tower and adding a ramp as proposed by the WDNR costs between $6 and $7.5 million. Restoration with a ramp could violate the Tower's historic designation. Alternatively, the WDNR proposes tearing down the historic Tower and replacing it with a new Tower and a ramp. This cost is between $5.9 and $7.4 million. Neither of these options are necessary to save the Tower.

Both DNR options are very expensive and would need to be included in the state's upcoming biennial budget. It is unlikely the legislature will approve these multi-million dollar costs. Even if they do approve it, the budget process and construction bidding process could result in a long and potentially fatal delay for the historic Tower.

The DNR report does not include the lowest cost option  which is restoring the historic Tower. In 2018 the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation hired Wood Research and Development (WDR) to study the condition of the historic tower and they concluded restoration was a viable option with estimated repair costs of $250,000 which could be completed in less than 30 days. Today, accounting for inflation and further deterioration,  we assume the historic Tower can be restored for $500,000 or less. Restoration could happen NOW, without legislative approval. A restored Tower could be enjoyed by the public and a future ADA study could determine accessibility options.

The  Sturgeon Bay Historical Society and the  Potawatomi Park Alliance believe the restoration option preserves natural and financial resources, preserves the Tower's historic status and can be done today without the risk of being removed from the budget as part of a likely budget battle.

A simple restoration of the Tower also preserves all of the surrounding forest which would be destroyed with any of the DNR- recommended options and it preserves the historic designation of the structure.

Question Title

* 1. After reviewing the DNR report which Tower option do you prefer: