City Tries to Buy Time for Granary Evaluation

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council came to a compromise of sorts on the fate of the Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator on the west waterfront.

After more than three hours of discussion in open and closed session, the council voted to allow the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society to pay for a new structural analysis of the granary building by Meyer Borgman Johnson and Michael J. Till. That analysis is contingent on the city obtaining proper liability insurance for the structure, and must be completed within 60 days.

The motion does not directly impact the fire chief’s raze order of Oct. 17, which ordered that the structure be razed within 30 days. Unless that motion is stayed, the city is still responsible for taking down the structure by Nov. 20. If it fails to do so, the city may be cited for failure to do so by the state Department of Safety and Professional Services. The historical society has petitioned to stay the raze order, but since it doesn’t own the building, the historical society may not have standing in court to challenge the order.

The council earlier voted not to file a petition itself to stay the raze order.

Alderpersons Barbara Allmann, Laurel Hauser and David Ward voted for the measure to get a new structural analysis, while Ron Vandertie and Stewart Fett voted against it. Alderman Richard Wiesner had to leave the meeting early, before the vote. Alderperson Kelly Catarozoli recused herself after the city attorney James Kalny suggested she had a conflict due to her past role on the board of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, an organization that aims to save the structure.

The council made the decision after hearing 45 minutes of public comment in support of saving the structure, and despite pledges of $1.25 million in private funds for the stabilization and rehabilitation of the structure.

In public comment George Evenson, Door County’s official historian, urged the city to save the structure.

“I have been involved in restoring many historic buildings, this building is a historical value of the community because it tells the story of the community,” Evenson said. “Sturgeon Bay had its start as an agricultural community.”


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