Whether residents of the City of Sturgeon Bay want it or not, a majority of the City Council Tuesday agreed to accept the donation of the old grain elevator and its move back to the west side waterfront. The vote was four to two, and came after the council tabled action on the requests for a referendum in April related to the donation and move. The consensus of the majority was that the proposal from the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society was too good a deal to turn down, given the pledge of 1.25 million dollars from a donor. They say the renovated granary could become an asset to the city and come at no cost to its taxpayers, given the endowment that comes with it.
Meanwhile, opponents of the idea pointed out that multiple questions surrounding the donation have yet to be answered, from the costs involved, to the expected use or uses, to the fact that an effort to gauge public opinion on the best uses for the west side waterfront would be severely undercut by plunking down the 118-year old building on the site before the work of the ad hoc committee on the waterfront is completed.
It should be noted that the donation comes with a provision that the details would be worked out before the gift of the old grain elevator is actually made. In fact, they say the building would be taken down if there isn’t enough funding to get the job done. However, the action taken Tuesday by the Sturgeon Bay City Council on an issue that has divided the city seems to have only made the matter more divisive. Those who support the idea see nothing wrong in what the council has done, those who are opposed to it see the granary as an unwelcome gift.