The State Building Commission approved a $2.07 million project to rebuild Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park at its Aug. 8 meeting at State Fair Park.
The new design will consist of a 60-foot observation tower with a 1,000-square foot observation deck at the top and an accessible ramp approximately 850 feet long with an additional observation deck off the ramp.
The project will also include a new accessible trail from the base of the ramp to the picnic and parking area; parking and repaving; interpretive displays; benches and connections to existing trails.
The Friends of Peninsula State Park are wrapping up fundraising and will be donating at least $750,000 to the project in the coming weeks. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will now take the proposal to the State Natural Resources Board for acceptance of the donation at its September meeting. If approved the department plans to proceed with the design and hopes to begin construction in December 2018 pending bid results and weather, with an estimated completion of late summer 2019.
The DNR went through a public process to determine the final design solution for the new Eagle Tower including public meetings, meetings with key stakeholders, legislators, as well as a public survey to gain input on the feasible designs options.
The key design elements favored by the public included looking like the old tower as much as possible, using cutting-edge technology to extend life of the new tower, being fiscally responsible, minimize operating costs and being accessible.
“We are excited for this milestone of getting State Building Commission approval,” said Ben Bergey, Wisconsin State Park System Director. “Eagle Tower is an iconic part of Peninsula State Park and we’re all looking forward to its return.”
The department will continue to work with key stakeholders such as the Friends of Peninsula State Park, the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory to refine the design details including how to best incorporate elements of the old tower into the new one, interpretive and education displays and identifying cutting-edge building materials used in construction.
People interested in more information on how to support the project or donate to the tower or other projects at the park should visit the Friends of Peninsula State Park website at peninsulafriends.org.