Your voice has been heard, and now Rep. Joel Kitchens, Senator Rob Cowles, and Senator Andre Jacque are making sure the state has the funds necessary to rehabilitate the Potawatomi State Park observation tower. Kitchens sent out the memo on Monday looking for co-sponsors for a bill that would direct up to $750,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to repair the structure that has been closed since 2017 due to safety concerns. Dr. Dan Tingley of Wood Research and Development recently did an engineering study, discovering that the tower’s main supports and the majority of its components could be saved. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole told Kitchens and Jacque in May that the agency was no longer looking at demolishing the structure but looking to save it. It has been put on the back burner ever since, something Kitchens hopes to change with enough sponsors.
Funding for the tower was included in special session legislation proposed by Governor Tony Evers, but it was tied in with Medicaid expansion that state Republicans were not on board with moving forward. The tower is listed on the National and State Register of Historic Places.