Friends of Peninsula State Park raises money for two projects

White Cedar Nature Center at Peninsula State Park .JPG

DOOR COUNTY (WLUK) -- Two separate fundraising campaigns at a popular state park in Door County are trying to raise more than $1 million.

The non-profit group Friends of Peninsula State Park wants to help build a new observation tower and expand the nature center.

The upgrades and improvements will take place at Peninsula State Park which is located between Fish Creek and Ephraim, in northern Door County.

"I think when you come in here, right away, you feel that tension going away. The relaxation, being out in nature," said Steve Strucely, Friends of Peninsula State Park.

From chatty squirrels, to friendly fliers, the White Cedar Nature Center is a popular spot.

"There's a lot of activity at the bird feeders over there as you can see," said Strucely.

But after 50 years of service, Strucely says the building needs an upgrade.

"Here we want to almost double the size of the nature center. out the back side of the nature center," he said.

Strucely says as part of the plan, outdoor restrooms will be replaced, an observation deck will be built, and the parking lot will be expanded.

A sneak peek inside, reveals another situation.

"This is the main exhibit room," said Strucely.

Strucely says on busy days about 100 and students and visitors can be inside.

"And it can be very cramped in this space," he said.

A fundraising campaign is underway to pay toward the $450,000 project.

The nature center isn't the only project on the Friends of Peninsula State Park's plate. The group is also raising money to help pay for the rebuild of the Eagle Tower nearby.

A Department of Natural Resources safety inspection deemed the 75-foot tower unsafe. It closed in 2015, and was taken down a year later. The friends group plans to contribute $750,000 toward the $1.2 million project.

"Eagle Tower is the place that I think everybody knows Peninsula State Park for. It's a place that people have come back to year after year after year," said Strucely.

Strucely says impovements here should keep the million visitors each year, coming back.

Construction on the White Cedar Nature Center and Eagle Tower is expected to begin this fall.

Both projects are expected to be complete by the Summer of 2019.

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