#74: Heritage Signs

While strolling around downtown Green Bay yesterday we read quite a few plaques on old buildings relating their histories. How cool would it be to know the history of our own lovely buildings.....the Fairfield, Parsons, Draeb just to name a few!♡

Submitted by Liz Orlock


#73: Join the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Ajax, ON, June 14, 2018 – At the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative annual conference in Ajax, Canadian and US mayors celebrated the strong, integrated relationship on environment and economy that binds our two countries and the Great Lakes St. Lawrence region as a whole... “As mayors in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence region, we represent a community of common interest, dedicated to the protection of our shared waters and our integrated economic prosperity,” said incoming Cities Initiative chair Sandra Cooper, Mayor of Collingwood (population 21,793). ...At the conference, civic leaders announced the creation of the Mayors’ Council on Nature and Communities, an exciting new venture to create natural spaces in urbanized areas and contribute to national efforts to reach the UN Convention on Biodiversity 17% natural spaces target by 2020. The initiative will begin in Ontario as a regional pilot, chaired by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, with vice-chair Mitch Twolan, mayor of Huron-Kinloss.

See the member cities here, they include Sheboygan, Port Washington, Kenosha, Superior, and Washburn, WI (population 2,098).

Among their initiatives is Green CiTTS (Cities Transforming Towards Sustainability). "This program showcases the actions of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence cities in moving the entire region towards a sustainable future and provides support to cities to go even further down the path towards sustainability. The Cities Initiative provides information and financial support for cities who would like to improve their green infrastructure projects. The objectives of the Green CiTTS program are to:

  1. Protect Water Resources and Coastal Areas
  2. Promote Low-Carbon Energy Generation and Consumption
  3. Adopt Green Land Use and Building Design
  4. Encourage Green Economic Development".

Perhaps Sturgeon Bay can join and commit to the initiative. So many common interests, in towns big and small, that share the Great Lakes. Sign up for their newsletter here. Thank you for your consideration.

Submitted by Nancy Aten


#72: Mixed-age inter-generational housing includes seniors

See Mixed-age senior living examples that are inspiring.

At Judson Manor in Cleveland, "While unique, the living arrangement has its perks for both generations. Studies have shown that there are huge health benefits to the elderly—from fighting dementia to regulating blood pressure —that come from social contact with younger people. Meanwhile, college students are struggling with increasing college debts and housing costs.
Read more.

At Bridge Meadows in Portland, "Elders help neighbors in myriad ways, gaining what amounts to an extended family in return. That’s the mission of this privately funded nonprofit organization that established a multigenerational community on a former elementary school site in North Portland. The cluster of townhomes and apartments brings together low-income elders and nine adults who have adopted or are in the process of adopting children out of foster care through an organization that provides on-site services and creates a support network for all. Read more.

At Mosaic Commons in Berlin, Massachusetts, 67-year old John Barrett lives at Mosaic Commons, a new intergenerational cohousing community, ages 8 months to 73 years old, 45 minutes west of Boston. He and his wife, Judy Dempewolff, are in good company; there are 124 mixed-age cohousing developments nationwide that include boomers and older adults. More than 40 are in the planning stages. Read more.

Hope Meadows in Illinois, established 21 years ago, has inspired a number of other communities. At one, that includes both young mothers and seniors, "the young mothers can take the seniors to the doctor, and the seniors can help out with child care while the moms are at school or at work." Read more.

Perhaps Sturgeon Bay planners can proactively explore alternative housing that supports seniors, young families, and students all together.

Submitted by Nancy Aten


#71: Historic school converted to affordable apartments

In Sheboygan - "Washington School Apartments have taken an old school landmark and applied a fashionable new school look. With energy efficient appliances, large picture windows, and original wood floors you will be the envy of all your friends and family. Whether you want to relax in the ample green space, or work out in our on-site fitness center, we have something in mind for everyone. Located in downtown Sheboygan we are close to shopping, dining, and entertainment."

In 2015, "The city plan commission approved a plan to convert the old Washington School into apartments targeting low-income earners. Gorman and Co. bought the building from the Sheboygan Area School District for around $300,000 and was the only developer to submit a proposal for redevelopment." In 2016, "The project to turn Washington School into apartments has been awarded the tax credits crucial to moving the transformation forward. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority has awarded Gorman and Co. $424,008 annually in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits  to start work turning Washington School into a 42-unit apartment complex. Of those units, 34 would be restricted by income to those making no more than $49,000 a year."

Submitted by Nancy Aten



#70: Pressure Washing the Granary

Pressure washing the granary may be harmful to the wood. Consider soda blasting, like the old public works bldg. Ask Venture Architects.

-  Bob Zakaras

(Thank you. This was sent promptly to the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society on June 12th).

#69: Being proactive about Younkers closing - many ideas

Recent news indicates Younkers may be closing. A recent facebook conversation begun by Charolette Baierl asks for ideas. Many in the community are concerned for Younkers employees and future opportunities. And, large vacant storefronts create additional concern - and also ideas.

In response to this question: We will lose Younkers in Sturgeon Bay. How will this incredible real-estate be re-used?

Ideas suggested informally include housing, mixed-use including retail, UW-Sturgeon Bay or UW-Extension, a co-working space, indoor market, call center, housing for the elderly, world’s best art / food cooperative space, another DCEDC great business incubator location to complement the industrial park, low-cost apartments, multi-generational housing (space in the basement for common areas and an elevator for elderly) and adaptive reuse, children's museum, housing / art studio mixed use, Miller Art Museum expanded location... and more. Excerpted comments are attached here.

This is also a good reminder of the talented pool of community members willing, enthusiastic, talented and knowledgeable, ready to contribute to future community planning when asked.

--------- Response 4/25 from Alderwoman Avenson:

Thank you for sending ideas and community input from Center Line Forum.  On Monday Pam Seiler of the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center put an informal meeting together to do exactly as stated in this suggestion, to be proactive.  

DCEDC, Joel Kitchens, Josh and Christopher from the City, David Hayes (District 2 alderperson), Kelly Avenson (District 4 alderperson) and Nicolet Bank were all present.  

There was talk regarding what is needed in Sturgeon Bay, what could fill those locations and be sustainable into the future and so on. We are working on this first step, what does the owner(s) of the property plan on doing with the real estate and another meeting is set for Monday.  If there is someone that would be an asset to have at these meetings please have them contact me.  

I believe that many more conversations should and will be had and I hope to invite the public to participate once we have a little more insight into the property owners' intent.

Thank you,


#68: Small boat-building nonprofit - a chapter here, using a vacant building?

At the Green Bay Conservation Roundtable last week, GB's Hands On Deck shared their programs. They are a nonprofit organization empowering youth and families to succeed together through experiential learning focused on the science and art of building wooden boats and the preservation of traditional skills.

"We have provided over one hundred wooden boat building and traditional skill classes with the Boy Scouts, Green Bay Public School System, Brown County Public Library, Brown County PALS, and Victory Academy in Northern Wisconsin. The last two groups focus directly on assisting at-risk youth. Working with HOD enables these groups to greatly enhance their missions."

Their "wheelbarrow boat" boat-building project is cool.

They are part of the Teaching With Small Boats Alliance, which has conferences and provides resources. Hands on Deck Green Bay is currently the only Wisconsin affiliate.

Maybe we could establish a chapter/affiliate in Sturgeon Bay, maybe finding a great purpose for a vacant building, maybe in partnerships with NWTC, the Maritime Museum, the school district,  local social services programs, etc.



#67: New stop sign request

Put a stop sign at the intersection of Louisiana and 4th avenue.

Submitted by Edward DiMaio


#66: Ten steps to a stronger town

Ideas from StrongTowns: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/8/26/10-steps-to-fix-a-city.

"We often talk about cities needing to change their current development pattern, but we usually offer gentle suggestions intended to prod towns in the right direction a little at a time. What if we attacked this problem head-on instead?

"For municipalities that want to become Strong Towns, here’s a list of what I see as the highest impact actions (not in any particular order) that would help restore a productive development pattern. This is a generic list, not tailored to any specific community, but the actions on this list would apply to the majority of North American towns.

"1. Don't issue any new bonds until the city's current debts are fully paid off.

"There is such a thing as responsible debt, but we’ve drifted so far away from this culturally that we would be better off quitting cold turkey for a while and getting debt-free for once before carefully re-evaluating the role of debt in the operation of a city.


"4. Don't permit greenfield development when existing infrastructure is highly underutilized.

"Almost every city has a section of town with streets and sewers surrounded by vacant lots or abandoned buildings. As long as there are big chunks of your town like this, there’s no reason to issue building permits for new infrastructure.

"5. Require buildings to front the street.

"That means no parking lots in front of buildings. The ground floor has to be inhabitable, parking can be beside or behind the building, but there has to be a “front door” that lets pedestrians enter the building directly from the street / sidewalk. ..."

submitted via fb by Elliot Goettelman

#65: Open applications for committee assignments

The Sturgeon Bay community has talent, knowledge, public service commitment, and diversity of all kinds. It would be an admirable goal for committee membership to reflect that as much as possible. A process might be initiated to welcome interest and applications from community members, and then review all applicants for good matches of these factors to committee assignments. I hope that Sturgeon Bay would consider adopting a practice that so many  Wisconsin communities follow. Below are just a few examples - Eau Claire in particular is an excellent example. Committee applications should be advertised on city website, social media, print media, etc. The City Council could establish a process like one of the following:

Eau Claire as example.

Portage, WI as example.

Janesville, WI as example.

 Photo: Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce (eauclairechamber.org)

Photo: Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce (eauclairechamber.org)

Thank you for your consideration.

Submitted by Nancy Aten

#64 : Barn-red Granary

I like the artist's rendering of the granary, in barn red paint with Sturgeon Bay painted on the side. I lived in Sturgeon Bay from 1950 to 1968, when I went away to college in Oshkosh. After that, I only returned periodically and I now live in N. VA, seldom traveling. I seem to remember the granary prior to this one burning down. I used to go along with my father when he patronized the nearby Midland Cooperative. I agree that it's a unique structure and it should be preserved.

Submitted by Gene Seiler


#63: Save the granary as agricultural venue

Here is a suggestion for making use of the granary and the waterfront landscape.

I am envisioning a food forest planted around the granary, instead of ordinary parkland. Maybe a butterfly garden tucked in there somewhere. The granary would be a venue to showcase local foods and artisan products. Maybe it could incorporate a cooking school offering affordable workshops for families to make their own sourdough bread, or Belgian pies, or cherry kringle.  I think it would be interesting to celebrate the granary as an agricultural monument and connect it with food production today.

Submitted by Paula Wendland

#62: Small apartments

Amity Field would be a superb location for small apartments, it is close to downtown and to grocery stores, etc. It is close to the shipyard and also NWTC. Small housing would work for many segments of the population. 400-500 sq.feet.

Submitted by Linda Cockburn


#61: Connectivity

I would like to see Sturgeon Bay host more festivals which include the entirety of the downtown. With a city this small, it seems silly to divide the East and West (and Jefferson Street) into their own areas. Our community is highly walkable/bikable and it would be fun to enjoy a day circling the bridges between activities. I think we should also utilize our cool back alleys.

I would also like to see city bikes available. I appreciate the new sidewalks on Egg Harbor Road so having bike stations at the grocery store would also be helpful.

submitted by Charolette Baierl

#60: Apply for Community Design Assistance through Citizens' Institute on Rural Design

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design is hosting an informational call on Thursday, January 25th, 2 pm central time, about the 2018 opportunity for rural communities to apply for design assistance. For cities and towns under 50,000 residents. NEA and CIRD staff will walk participants through the program opportunity as well as the mechanics of how to apply. For more information about CIRD and to view the Request for Proposals, visit: https://www.rural-design.org/request-for-proposals. Deadline for communities to apply is February 16, 2018.

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) connects communities to the design resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality. CIRD is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) conducted in partnership with Project for Public Spaces, along with the Orton Family Foundation.

The CIRD 2018 program is focused on helping rural leaders and residents come together to find creative solutions for the following design issues:
• Multimodal Transportation – Examples of design challenges include: Improving bike/pedestrian access in your community; retrofitting commercial strips to accommodate pedestrians; the development of recreational trails for mobility and economic development; mobility for the elderly and aging in place; context sensitive rural highways and byways; integration of arts/culture/design to improve transportation or pedestrian experience.
• Healthy Living by Design – Examples of design challenges include: Creating public space that supports play and active recreation; improving access to healthy food and local food eco-systems; enhancing access for walking, biking, and active transportation/recreation; building social cohesion and opportunities for social interaction via creative placemaking.
• Main Streets – Examples of design challenges include: Leveraging Main Street for economic development; redesigning Main Street as a local street versus state highway/thruway; cultivating/enhancing public space on main street via design or creative placemaking; branding and design along Main Street; historic preservation and adaptive reuse of Main Street buildings; maximizing the role that arts and culture can play as an economic driver for local and regional economies.


#59: Preserving the Granary – Sturgeon Bay - Economics of Uniqueness

Historic cultural heritage is a non-renewable resource. Like archaeology, it is irreplaceable and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Many cities and towns across America regret the loss of their heritage, especially in their historic city cores. Furthermore, a building should be expended only under exceptional circumstances.

As Aristotle famously stated, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Integrated conservation targets simultaneously landmarks, historic city cores, housing, and land that collectively have enough character to give each city or town its own unique flavor. While the Granary may seem to be one physically isolated building, it is actually part of an integrated system of local history and represents the agricultural industry that is both the birth and enduring foundation of Door County.

Applying an integrated conservation approach would also link heritage conservation and local economic development, enhancing a downtown where people like to go, meet, live, work, and invest. The “creative class” and millennial generation are looking for less urban areas to live that are affordable, yet have culture and a distinct ‘sense of place’ that makes it feel different from any other. Economists debate and discuss ‘cultural capital,’ which is the culmination of heritage assets in an area that often leads to increased property values, attracts talent and business investment, and increases sense of pride among local residents.

Sturgeon Bay does not have a great deal of historic landmarks remaining and should preserve and adaptively reuse what it still possesses. The Granary forms a significant part of the town’s fabric and essence – and its future requires prudence from the people who will ultimately decide its fate.

Susan Kennedy
International Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Expert
Adjunct Lecturer at Lawrence University in Public History Management

See Document, Economics of Uniqueness

"Cost-Benefit Analysis Confirms the Cultural and Economic Value of Conservation"

#58: One-of-a-kind recreational facility at Westside Waterfront

[Shortened slightly from public letter sent to media. Photos added by Centerline from the Title Town project described in letter].

... Please, allow me here to plead with the City Fire Chief and Council to re-consider the take down orders regarding the granary... Based on my professional engineering opinion, I hereby voluntarily state that from a practical standpoint, the re-use of what perhaps is considered to be one of the most recognizable structures in the city [like the Eiffel Tower] by local residents and by one of the major life sources of Sturgeon Bay - Tourists ... Hence, I encourage those opposed to maintaining the structure in its present location to look at the dissertation I submit ...

... There exists a new structural engineering movement throughout the State of Wisconsin and the nation called “mass-timber” buildings and I recently attended a DNR workshop in Madison regarding this new movement.
The subject Granary is a prime example of this revitalized idea to make wooden structures 8 to 16 stories tall as opposed to current code limits of 3 story wooden structures. This movement is heavily promoted by State Governments because of the abundance of renewable standing timber, especially in Wisconsin.  

Also, as a member of the Wisconsin Structural Engineers Association, I was recently invited to attend a tour of the “Title Town” development across from Lambeau Field. The resultant effect of the tour is my inspiration for this sunset appeal that I hereby submit to the City Authority and ask they [...] please re-consider not to destroy this really “cool” iconic structure but rather save it by re-purposing it for citizens and visitors alike.

About the Title Town Project: The newly developed outdoor facility has a tall structure as its focal point that acts as a warming house for ice skaters to glide along a curvilinear ice skating rink that surrounds said tall warming house building... really fantastic!

There also exists a man made hill for snow tubing that is also incorporated around one side of the tall building element.

At ground level there are shuffle boards and bocci ball courts, swings, slides and other play areas. I further believe tennis courts and walking paths, a 100 yard dash track etc. make for a delightful usage of land for public consumption.

I came away from said tour with ideas for how Sturgeon Bay could do a similar facility by incorporating the “mass-timber” Granary that is already on-site and how has a historical building status. I believe all is positive regarding progressive city planning concepts.

In my professional opinion, the current uncertainty of land use regarding high water issues, etc., it seems to me, as a qualified planner, the Granary should be remediated and perhaps the property become part of the city’s park system that could become a one of a kind facility not found anywhere else with its campus having a maritime museum, working water front, tug boats, coast guard boats and Bay Ship’s industrial crane booms rising upward in the background, the docked winter fleet, the bridge infrastructure, especially the Steel Bridge. All, I might say could be enhanced with a winter and summer park, with public toilets in or around the Granary, a warming house in winter and playing of indoor games like checkers, chess or sheepshead card playing for both Seniors and Youth to have a very special recreational space where everyone can gather around the historical Granary. Who else in Wisconsin can do all this?
Perhaps the Farm Market could be located within the confines of such an area... walking and jogging paths in spring/summer/fall and cross country skiing possibilities in winter.

It could all start by saving the Granary... The Fire Chief’s concerns can be satisfied by temporary shoring of the Granary until a Master Plan can be developed, perhaps by the same design firm that created the outstanding recreational facility in Green Bay’s “Title Town” development.
By the way, it is  my opinion that the Demo Contractor's bid is way too low to be able to save the Mass Timbers. Note: All components of the Granary are necessary  to save and be labeled in an orderly fashion so that reassembly is possible if city does have it taken down under the provision of storing the building components for future use. Note: Again, let me emphasize in order to re-assemble this building, all parts must be numbered and kept on a plan the reflects where the numbered parts go with each other or all will be lost after the fact. If demo contractor just tears it down for his low bid, I believe nothing but a few posts might be left. There exists, in my opinion some $200,000 dollars worth of timbers along and maybe that’s why the low bid...

In summation, as a professional planner and structural engineer, I would hope that all parties set aside their divisions and come together for the good of the community and re-consider what a gem we have in this “mass timber” Granary building.

I would be pleased to meet with anyone interested in hearing more about the uniqueness of possessing this unusual Granary in our water front landscape.

In conclusion, this email is NOT a solicitation for business, but rather a free sharing of a professional engineer’s viewpoint. Please feel free to share this email with whomever you wish.
Mike Till, P. E.
LICENSE # 22384

 (image: OnMilwaukee.com)

(image: OnMilwaukee.com)

 (image: Title Town)

(image: Title Town)

#57: Move the granary to Anaphee Trail

Move the granary structure to the beginning of the Anaphee Trail at the end of South Neenah St. It would be easy to move it. It could become a multiple use building marking the beginning of the trail. The Anaphee railroad was used to haul the grain from the granary. If the granary were near the trail, it would be like stepping back in time.

Submitted by Randy O


#56: History for a great sense of community

“It’s beautiful, and I think that’s why we call it the crown and jewel of Lemont. . . . It’s a gathering place. It’s a great place to have, because there is a great sense of community in Lemont.”

That's what the chairperson of the Lemont, Pennsylvania Village Association has to say about their town's granary, which has been gradually and painstakingly restored since the town bought it in the mid-'90s. This beautiful building has become a central community gathering place. They have an annual Christmas market with music, spirits, and local artists' wares! Haunted houses! Weddings! Concerts! Gourmet dinners! A 5K run! All taking place at--and funding the restoration of--this beautiful granary.

The thing is: in Sturgeon Bay, the restoration of our granary is already paid for. More than $1.5 million has been pledged specifically for this purpose. We already have an iconic building in the center of our town. Don't we want to save it?

I do.

(submitted by Jacinda Duffin via fb).

See other examples of repurposed granaries at http://www.centerlineforum.org/repurposed-granaries

Source: about:blank

#55: Refer to the City's Comprehensive Plan

The City¹s last comprehensive plan (adopted in March of 2010) lists only five overall goals and one of the five is: Seek preservation and maintain the abundant natural and historic resources within and surrounding the City. (page 3-30).

It also says, "Cultural resources encompass historic buildings or structures and archaeological sites, as well as institutions and organizations which contribute to the cultural or artistic life of the community. Cultural resources help to provide the City of Sturgeon Bay with a sense of
heritage, identity, and civic pride. Resources such as historical sites or districts and cultural attractions such as museums can also provide economic development opportunities for the City and its residents. For these reasons, it is important to identify historical and cultural sites
in the City of Sturgeon Bay. (page 4-17).

Read more about an iconic historical building here.