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DNR no-show for Potawatomi State Park tower hearing

Members of the state Assembly and the general public discussed the rehabilitation of Potawatomi State Park’s observation tower on Wednesday, but you would not have found the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources there. 

 

The Assembly Committee on Tourism listened to testimony on a pair of bills in Madison, including one that would dedicate up to $750,000 of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to repairing the historic structure. Sturgeon Bay residents Christie Weber, Paul Anschutz, and Kelly Catarozoli testified in favor of the bill, even suggesting that the bill could be amended to use money from the general maintenance fund if the ARPA dollars could not be used. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources declined to speak at the hearing despite telling Rep. Joel Kitchens, State Senator Andre Jacque, and other state officials back in May that they were committed to saving the structures.

 

Rep. Kitchens says the DNR has cited concerns in recent weeks that they did not have five months ago, leaving him frustrated about them not coming to the hearing to respond.

The Potawatomi State Park observation tower, which is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, is required by statute to have a plan for its long-term preservation and for it to be repaired if possible. After it was closed permanently in 2018, Dr. Dan Tingley of Wood Research and Development announced that the tower’s main support can be saved and the majority of it components can be saved.  

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