DOOR COUNTY -- The Wisconsin DNR announced this week that visitors to Peninsula State Park in Door County will see more than $15 million in improvements over the next year. That includes a rebuilt Eagle Tower with an accessible ramp, plus an expanded White Cedar Nature Center.
The State Building Commission approved the transfer of $1.4 million in additional funds to rebuild the tower at its Wednesday, Oct. 16 meeting, bringing the total project budget to $3.4 million.
The Friends of Peninsula State Park have raised $750,000 in private donations for the tower, and the building commission had previously approved $1.25 million to rebuild it. However, bids to rebuild the tower came in a million dollars over the anticipated cost after being bid out twice resulting in additional approval from the State Building Commission.
Proposed Eagle Tower replacement
The new tower will consist of a 60-foot observation tower with a 1,000-square-foot observation deck at the top and an accessible ramp approximately 850 feet long with an additional observation deck off the ramp. The Department of Natural Resources took down the previous 84-year-old tower in 2016 after an inspection report raised significant concerns over its structural integrity.
Eagle Tower, Peninsula State Park (June 2016)
The friends group is also donating $360,000 for an addition to the nature center, with a new activity and meeting room for up to 50 people, indoor accessible restrooms, and functional storage and program preparation space. The public is welcome to attend the official ground-breaking ceremony, hosted by the friends group, scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the nature center.
Other improvements include replacement of a shower building in the South Nicolet campground, wastewater treatment system repairs, lift station replacement, major facility repairs and upgrades, vault toilet replacement, Weborg Shelter upgrades, repairs to Sunset Bike Trail and repaving of park roads.
Campground improvements include electrifying an additional 23 campsites in the park and upgrades in picnic tables and fire rings, as well as enhancements to camping pads at 450 campsites.