Future of the Sturgeon Bay historic granary remains in question

Sturgeon Bay - The Sturgeon Bay common council deliberated on the future of the granary after a public comment period where dozens of people voiced their support, even pleading with the city to hold off on the demolition of the granary.

The city council approved a structural analysis from the engineering firm Meyer, Borgman and Johnson out of Minneapolis and gave a time table of 60 days to finish the study, back in 2013 the same firm did a study and concluded that even though the granary has a soft foundation it could be made structurally sound.

However, the citizens in attendance were disappointed that a motion to appeal the fire chief's raze order was rejected, on October 17 the chief ordered the demolition within 30 days citing that the building had become a public health hazard.

A week later the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society received an anonymous donation of $1.25 million, they have appealed the fire chief's decision, however nobody knows if they have the standing to do so and that is why people were disappointed because the city does.

After receiving that donation the historical society offered to pay for a new structural analysis, liability insurance and the cost of renovating the granary which the engineering firm estimated would cost $150,000 back in 2013.

In addition, the historical society offered the city $75,000 if the study found that the granary was beyond repair and they would put that money towards demolishing the granary.

People worry about the imminent danger because the fire chief's raze order still stands and the deadline to bring down the granary is November 20th, which is one day before the next city council meeting.

The council did pass a motion to have another meeting to consider appealing the raze order when they learn if the historical society has standing.

In another twist the city attorney briefed Alderwoman Kelly Catarzoli of a possible conflict of interest because she used to be on the board of the historical society, she resigned from that position on Monday.

After the common council came out of closed session Catarzoli left before the city council deliberated and the vote to appeal the chief's raze order failed 3-2.


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