As anticipated, a majority on the Sturgeon Bay City Council voted to override Mayor Thad Birmingham’s veto of a recommendation on the donation of the old grain elevator to the city, a land lease and facilitation by the Door County Community Foundation. The vote was five to two, with Aldermen David Ward and Seth Wiederanders opposing the idea.
In a letter dated January 18th, Mayor Birmingham listed several reasons why he used his veto pen. He noted that the action was contrary to the stated goal of following a public process when determining the plan for the west side waterfront area, a process that was supposed to be inclusive and independent, that the action was relying only on information and project estimates supplied by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, that space needs for the structure will be more than what has been stated, and the building will have a detrimental impact on the tax incremental generating uses on or near the site. The Mayor also pointed out that there is no guarantee or plan that the completed structure will generate funds to help offset costs. Earlier, Birmingham had called for a referendum to gauge public opinion on the city’s ownership of the granary, but was rebuffed by a majority on the council.