Representative Kitchens – All questions have been answered and there is a plan to go forward, which will be presented this evening.
A fundraiser is necessary because if we were to go through the state budgetary process it would be too slow. The DNR is committed to make this happen.
Ben Bergey, WDNR Parks Director, gave a history of the project and outlined the steps in moving forward.
Three different engineering reports came to the conclusion that the tower was not safe.
- Edge Consulting then did a peer review
- Robert Ross from the U.S. Forest products lab in Madison did research and analysis on the wood parts of the structure.
In January of 2016 the started working on a plan to move forward to raise funds and rebuild because of the 1700+ people who expressed concern over losing the tower. They started by analyzing the impact of the parks on the state.
- The people using the parks make up $46 million per year in the state’s economy.
- Peninsula State Park is the most iconic park in the system.
- Eagle Tower is the most iconic part of Peninsula State Park.
The steps forward are these:
- Raise funds – the Friends of Peninsula State Park will use their 501(c)(3) status to collect funds and donate them back to DNR for express purpose of rebuilding the tower.
- At the same time, before disassembly, laser technology will be used to recreate plans to rebuild the tower to look as closely to the original as possible, but to be safer than it is now. Originally there were no good documents to show how the tower was built. The laser project starts June 10.
- The tower will be disassembled piece by piece. Each piece will be relegated to one of 3 piles:
- Cannot be reused anywhere
- Could be used for some other project
- The piece is structurally sound and could be reused on the project.
- There will be extra staff provided to the park to control the impact to the park and keep the visitors safe.
- The road will be closed during the day only and open at night.
- Some trails will also be closed.
- At the same time as disassembly, plans will begin to be drawn using the plans generated with laser technology and researching modern materials that can be used. Robert Ross noted that the original structure was originally thought to last 35 – 40 years. Using new materials and modern technology, it should be able to be built to last 80 to 100 years.
Not sure of how much time it will take, but the goal is to have an opening party in 2017.
Kelly Bruns spoke on how rebuilding the tower can be used to impact the visitors to the park.
- Educational programs
- Viewing areas during reconstruction
- Story board
People are encouraged to share their tower stories on the website dedicated solely to the rebuilding of the tower.
Interested people are also encouraged to share ideas for fund raising. One presented at the meeting was for Door County school children to be collecting quarters at each school and turned into the Friends of Peninsula State Park to be used for the project.
There will be radio publicity, free of charge, for the project.
The website is https://eagletowerfund.com – Funds can be donated through this website and there will be updates regularly on the progress of the project.
The Facebook page is: Repair Eagle Tower
Donations can be made by mail to:
Eagle Tower Fund
PO Box 353
Egg Harbor, WI 54209
Just today, there was $5,000 deposited into the account from initial fundraising. The funds go to the Friends of Peninsula State Park and the Friends then donate them to the DNR for the sole purpose of rebuilding the tower. The Friends donated the first $1,000 to kick off the campaign and another $1,000 as seed money for any expenses incurred in fundraising.