A meeting of state representatives and officials from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) resulted in the goal of opening Eagle Tower in the spring of 2017. A statement from Door Property Owners (DPO) Vice President Kathie Vavra alleged that there was an agreement and commitment from the DNR to open the tower, but officials at the department say the date is not set in stone.
“We have a goal of getting that project done as soon as possible,” said Ben Bergey, director of Wisconsin’s State Parks Programs, who attended the meeting held in the office of Senator Frank Lasee. “Obviously there is a lot of work to be done until then. At this time, the way we moved forward, there’s a few different ways we can do that. There’s some details to work out yet.”
Bergey did confirm that all possible outcomes of the meeting included a tower standing on Eagle Bluff.
The statement from Vavra said Eagle Tower would be removed from the DNR Master Plan for Door County Parks. Bergey said the plans will run concurrently, with certain aspects of the tower location being included in the pending master plan.
“The department recognizes we have momentum in terms of the Eagle Tower project,” said Bergey. “They are both going to be going on at the same time. There may be parts of the project that sit within the master plan. We don’t want to slow down either.”
Vavra was not in attendance at the meeting in Lasee’s office, but she first heard the news from one of Lasee’s aides during a meeting about state and national historic preservation of the tower.
“They had more or less agreed, as far as Senator Lasee is concerned,” said Vavra about the discussion between Lasee and the DNR officials.
Funding for the project is likely to come from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Vavra said if those funds can’t be secured, the DPO will launch a general campaign to raise funds for the tower.
“They don’t even know how much it’s going to cost yet so we’re a little premature jumping the gun on the money aspect,” said Vavra.