SAVE EAGLE TOWER UPDATE

SAVE EAGLE TOWER UPDATE

There were three meetings last week: SET Committee Meeting with Bret Bicoy – fund raising and the Door Community Foundation.
SET Committee Meeting – teleconference with Jim Draegger. Strategy planned for submitting the Eagle Tower for the state and national register. The focus will be on historic architecture  and archeological integrity. The process will take approximately seven months.

AT THE THIRD MEETING THE DNR DID A COMPLETE 180!
The DNR has agreed/committed to a 2017 re-opening of Eagle Tower!
In attendence at the meeting:

Tim Gary, Legislative Liaison
Ben Bergey, Director of Wisconsin’s State Parks Program
Sanjay Olson, Division Administrator for the DNR Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
Bob Ross from the US Forest Product Laboratory, expert on historic reconstruction
Representative Robert  Cowles,  Senator Frank Lassee and Representative Joel Kitchens. Tim Erskine was consulted via teleconference.

The DNR is projecting a spring of 2017 re-opening of the Tower, but there are still discussions between the legislature and the DNR that need to occur to see if they will require Knowles-Nelson Stewardship dollars to move the project forward.  

Below is a good summary of the meeting with the DNR:
1) Momentum is greatly in favor of keeping Eagle Tower in its historic form – no modernized replacement was discussed except in passing. Everyone seemed unanimous about this. This is very encouraging.
2) Dr. Rob Ross, USDA wood properties expert, was convincing in his evaluation of important structural wood members being in alarming states of decay, especially the main support columns. He is an expert in this area and we have no reason to dispute his findings.
3) Rob Ross agreed that we should find the original blue-prints of the tower if they still exist and work from them to develop a restoration plan. If they don’t exist, they should be created by exact measurements of Eagle Tower. Any restoration project should be based on these so that the final tower looks as much like the original structure as possible.
4) Proposed project objectives; A) when the project is finished, the restored Eagle Tower looks as identical as possible to the current tower, B) it contains as much of the original wood within it as possible without compromising strength, and C) agree that the footings and support post base caps should be modernized to prevent future decay in this vulnerable area and maximize strength.
5) Rob Ross’ opinion was that the tower would have to be disassembled for his people to certify which wood could be used in the rebuilt structure.
6) Discussion was held over the possible need for modern engineered wood for certain members, a company out of Peshtigo, Sentinel Structures, specializes in these wood products and had been suggested as an option to rebuild supports.
7) As mentioned by Jim Draeger with the WI Historical Society if the tower is reassembled close to its original form, it would not need to meet modern code requirements and could be built with ADA exceptions.
8) The DNR is no longer discussing permanent removal of Eagle Tower, but how to repair and restore the structure.

The Eagle Tower has been removed from the infamous DNR Master Plan. Senator Lassee would like this to be an educational experience for the million visitors to Peninsula State Park this summer. Educational boards with historic pictures and the blueprints could be placed at the tower construction site so that visitors can observe and learn as work progresses.

I have asked Senator Lassee to set up another meeting at the Fish Creek Town Hall. This could be a Public Information Session to unveil the plans for our Door County icon.

I would like to thank all of our committee members, the 1707 people who signed our Save Eagle Tower petition at doorpropertyowners.com, citizens who wrote letters and called to keep this topic in the limelight and of course, our state and local officials. Senator Frank Lasses ‘s efforts were outstanding. Support offered by Representatives Robert Cowles and Joel Kitchens was greatly appreciated. The DNR did a complete 180! It took us ten months to prove how intent we were on saving our tower. The future reconstruction is our reward. We have created a win/win for everyone. Watch the papers, Facebook and the dpo website for a date for the Public Information Session. Thank-you for your continued support!

Kathie Vavra,  Vice President, Door Property Owners