City Working on Extension of Granary Project Agreement

The City of Sturgeon Bay is considering extending its development agreement with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation (SBHSF) to “substantially complete” the Door County Granary restoration project. 

Utopia Circle resident Mike Langenhorst speaks May 16 before the Sturgeon Bay Common Council to criticize the Door County Granary’s restoration project on the city’s West Waterfront not being “substantially completed” by the end of April 2023. Photo by Kevin Boneske.

The last extension expired at the end of last month without the project being finished. Foundation board members and others spoke about the project during the public-comment period before the council went into closed session to discuss the development agreement.

SBHSF secretary Kelly Avenson asked council members to think about the opportunity the Granary will provide to learn about the past when they consider extending the development agreement.

“We get to teach about what we once did, and how we did it, and how we’ve evolved,” she said.

Utopia Circle resident Mike Langenhorst spoke against granting another extension to the development agreement.

“[The SBHSF has] abused you,” he said. “They’ve abused the city. They’ve abused the taxpayers. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I don’t know.”

Mayor David Ward said the council agreed in closed session to have the city attorney prepare a response to the SBHSF request. 

In December 2022, the Granary project was awarded $3.3 million in federal funds to restore the 1901 Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator. The SBHSF had planned to restore the Granary in two phases, but with that award, it announced it will combine work on the ground level and upper levels of the building.

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation (SBHSF) board member Kelly Catarozoli speaks May 16 before the Sturgeon Bay Common Council in favor of approving an extension to the development agreement the SBHSF entered into with the city to complete the restoration of the Door County Granary project on the West Waterfront. Photo by Kevin Boneske.

SBHSF president Laurel Hauser said construction is expected to begin in September and be completed by late 2024.

She said the federal funding will provide “more than enough funds that we need to complete the development-agreement dictates. What we’re required to provide, we will surpass that with the funds from the CDS [congressionally directed spending].”

Hauser said the SBHSF will continue to fundraise for the Granary project “to make improvements to our exhibits. We will be fundraising for operations and maintenance and all of the expenses that go with running a nonprofit organization.

“You’ll remember when the Door County Maritime Museum opened its tower, not all of the floors were fully outfitted yet, and we may be in that situation,” she said. 

Hauser said a “soft opening” of the Granary is planned by the end of 2024, followed by a grand opening in the spring of 2025.

Ward said he hopes an extension to the development agreement between the city and the SBHSF will be finalized before construction is planned to begin in September.

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