What to Watch in 2019: Northern Door Construction

By the time the snow starts to fall at the end of 2019, northern Door County will look different. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will reconstruct Highway 42 from Fish Creek to Sister Bay through two business districts. Meanwhile, local arts organizations will move into new homes.

Perhaps the most anticipated construction project expected to be complete in 2019 is the rebuilding of Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park. The tower closed due to structural concerns in May 2015, and four years have passed since visitors to the park have seen the panoramic view of Eagle Harbor and beyond. After some bureaucracy, fundraising and plenty of delays, the Department of Natural Resources settled on a design compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act that will feature a winding canopy walk to the top of a 60-foot tower. Crews have already started to trim trees at the site and construction is expected to begin in spring 2019.

The highway that guides visitors to Peninsula State Park will receive a similar facelift in 2019. The DOT will resurface Highway 42 through Fish Creek and Ephraim, and the latter community will do additional reconstruction projects in coordination with the DOT.

Ephraim will follow the lead of Sister Bay in burying the utility lines along the highway to create an unobstructed view through the historic downtown. Throughout planning many residents were not assuaged of their fears that the project would destroy the quaint charm of the village; by year’s end we will see the if they were right.

The Town of Gibraltar will experience even greater construction pains in spring during resurfacing. The project also includes extending the sidewalk on the north end of Fish Creek up to Gibraltar Schools and the Northern Door YMCA. The town chose not to bury utility lines, but did open its views of the water with an expansion of Fish Creek beach, which will have a new bathhouse by mid-summer.

Local schools will also carry out the will of the voters as they rebuild their facilities following the referenda of the Nov. 6 election. Gibraltar will begin construction on its library, adding natural light and new technology. Southern Door will improve safety and security, create more ADA accessible spaces, remodel classrooms and add school buses to its fleet.

Sevastopol will begin work on its $25 million reconstruction project, with construction slated to begin in spring of 2020.

In the arts scene, Northern Sky will complete its Creative Campus, hosting its fall season in the new space. As Northern Sky finishes its facility, the Peninsula School of Art down the road aims to break ground on a $6.4 million project including a new children’s wing, digital art studio, library and additional studios at the end of 2019.