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Letter to the Editor: Preservation Rocks!

Thank you to the Town of Gibraltar community and town board members for giving me the opportunity to relocate the “historic tea house” at the beach to a new location, instead of simply choosing to tear it down and sending it off to a landfill, as so often happens all over Door County.
This small treasure is a sound square structure with hardwood floors, old growth 2x4s (which are stronger than new) can be moved to start a second lifecycle, and is even more environmentally green because this structure will also not require the production of new materials, making this one of the most green construction methods available today, but we need more community education to understand the benefits before we can make a dent in this real problem.
One idea, to help encourage more reuse, could be that we consider offering land to relocate these castaways and encourage the community reuse, especially at a time when we have a lack of affordable housing. These small places are perfect and already fit into the community, but we rarely relocate, over razing them, because we have no system in place to let the public know they are available in time.
I would like to ask all city, towns and village officials in Door County to consider creating a “tear-down ordinance” county-wide, which would simply afford the public the opportunity to know that a structure is available to be recycled before a permit to tear down is granted, through advertising it a few weeks in the media.
The little town of Namur [in the Town of Union], created such an ordinance, years ago, and that simple public notification requirement has protected some of their most historic structures just by having done so.
Please consider how many of these historic cottages/homes, garages, like this, are being torn down annually in Door County and then total the real historic, environmental and community losses and or the cost savings offered in materials and our landfill, if we proactively found new users, instead of silently replacing them with all new, larger and larger products.
We all need to start thinking, as Gibraltar did, about the importance of community character/our heritage and start working more green to solve our problems.
To make this preservation example complete, I could use help in finding a reuse on a small very inexpensive lot, preferably within Gibraltar to relocate the cottage to, so it can both maintain its historic connection to the community and continue to support the community, if possible.
Anyone looking to learn about how to relocate/reuse structures themselves, first-hand, want to talk about the environmental and community benefits of reuse or want to just get involved in this effort because it’s fun, please contact me at [email protected]
And thank you again for this opportunity to save this unique place in Door County.

Christie Weber
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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