The City of Sturgeon Bay failed to reach a quorum at two special meetings Monday and Wednesday to vote on bids for dismantling the Granary on the west side waterfront.
Alderwomen Barbara Allmann, Laurel Hauser and Kelly Catarozoli were absent from the first meeting Monday, Dec. 11. All three said they informed the city that they would not be able to meet on that date when it was first proposed. Hauser and Allmann said no alternative date was offered. On Tuesday morning, the city called another special meeting for Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Noon, and the same three alderwomen said they could not make that mid-day meeting on short notice.
Another special meeting was called for Friday, Dec. 15.
Hauser said she didn’t understand why the city is in a rush to vote on the bids when there is a regular meeting of the council Dec. 19. But there is also a bit of gamesmanship being played by the three representatives, each of whom oppose tearing down the Granary.
“I have a really hard time awarding a bid contract when we haven’t done a structural analysis,” Hauser said.
Allmann said she would still like the council to at least see the presentation from the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for the property.
“In August the council voted to give groups until January first to come up with a plan for stabilizing or redeveloping it, and I think we should honor that,” she said.
Councilmen Ron Vandertie and David Ward said the raze order issued by Fire Chief Tim Dietman Oct. 17 altered that timeline. On Nov. 7 the council voted to give the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society 60 days to perform a structural analysis of the property, but at its next meeting two weeks later it changed course and voted to dismantle it.
The historical society has requested their presentation be added to each of the last two council meetings, but those requests have been denied by Mayor Thad Birmingham.
On Nov. 21 the council approved a motion to dismantle the structure in a way that would save as much of the structure as possible to store it for potentially reconstructing it at a later date on the site or a new location. The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society said the language of the RFP emphasizes demolition and site restoration, and is not sufficient for reconstruction to historical preservation standards. The Granary was placed on the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places in August.
City Administrator Josh VanLieshout wrote in an email to the council stating that before submitting the RFP he confirmed with Alderman David Ward that it met the intent of his approved motion from the Nov. 21 meeting.
Kiesow Enterprises has submitted the low bid for dismantling of $66,237, with an earliest possible completion date of Dec. 19, 2017.
The conflicting interpretations of the RFP might explain why the submitted bids came in so drastically different. In addition to the low winning bid, a bid of $358,196 was submitted by Ostrenga Excavating, with a completion date of June 2018. That bid did not include supporting information explaining the estimate or timeline.
Petition Filed to Appeal Raze Order
Alderwoman Barbara Allmann and Historic Preservation Commission Chair Dennis Statz filed a petition to appeal the raze order issued for the Granary.
The petition filed Dec. 4 with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services alleges that the city did not follow due process in its deliberations on the raze order. On Oct. 30 the Historic Preservation Commission passed a resolution in support of preserving the Granary, but the minutes from that meeting were not shared with the Common Council until after the decision to raze the structure was made Nov. 21.
A donor working with the Door County Community Foundation and Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has pledged $1.25 million to save the structure, but the common council instead voted to dismantle it at its Nov. 21 meeting.
Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman issued the raze order Oct. 17 after receiving reports Oct. 13 from people who thought it had moved. Sturgeon Bay city staff documented movement of one-sixteenth of an inch during a five-day period, causing Dietman to issue the raze order. The order did not reference how any measurements compared to those found in the last comprehensive structural analysis of the building in 2013.