Listening session for Eagle Tower

A view of Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Sept. 14, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

Those hoping to take in nature's beauty in Door County still can't check out the sights from a popular tourist attraction.

The Department of Natural Resources closed Eagle Tower in May, after an inspection revealed safety issues with the structure.

But after four months, the Peninsula State Park tower is still closed, and people in the area are looking for answers.

A listening session from an area lawmaker held Monday was designed to try to figure out what to do.

About 90 people crowded the Old Town Hall in Fish Creek Monday afternoon. Saving the Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park was on their minds.

"You're going to remove something that leaves a hole. But now it's a hole that can no longer be filled. And the thing that brought us all here, and to this magnificent county, that it, will be gone," said Holly Cole, Door County.

State Senator Frank Lasee organized lawmakers and policy makers for a listening session.

"We want to pass along the message to the DNR that this is an important lankmark in the area," said State Senator Frank Lasee, (R) De Pere.

Lasee says the tower could be fixed for about $100,000.

"Yeah, there are some boards that are weathering, and aging. But I think the basics of it are still very good. I think the repair option would make a lot of sense," he said.

Lasee says replacing the tower could cost about $1 million.

"It does need to be replaced in a way that allows for an elevator system and access for everyone in my opinion," said Mike McCarthy, Ephraim.

The DNR closed the tower this summer after it failed to pass inspection.

Agency leaders say finding any money for Eagle Tower may be difficult.

There were a lot of cuts in this most recent budget. Does that mean that the tower remains closed?

"At this point, the department does not have any funds set aside for the repair or rebuilding of the structure," said Jerry Leiterman, DNR District Park and Trail Supervisor.

Listening session ideas included using local money, fundaisers, and even selling naming rights to pieces of the tower.

"We do need to balance public desires with the responsible use of all our resources," said Tim Gary, DNR Legislative Liaison.

The DNR says improvements could take up to two years. Many people answers much sooner.

"This is very important. Fix it. We know now, we have the knowledge, fix it," said Chuck Schott, Door County.

The DNR announced the five state parks in Door County will be part of its master planning which puts those parks at the front of the line for money for improvements.

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