Sheboygan Press March 4th 2014 •
A letter was introduced from the Armory Foundation asking to rent the Sheboygan Armory through Oct. 31 so that the citizen-led group can make improvements to the building. The group, which is looking to revitalize the building and keep it city-owned, is also asking to use the armory property on July 4 for a music and food event.
The city is currently seeking proposals for the Armory as they sort out the building’s future. The request was referred to the city’s Public Works Committee.
— Reach Josh Lintereur at 920-453-5147.
“Shall we be sentimental or practical? It would be nice to save the Armory but at what cost to the taxpayers? If a private group was to take the building over for a commercial investment and assumed all accompanying financial responsibilities, fine. If the taxpayers are involved in any way, then it would be best to sell it, even if it meant demolition and salvage, preferably by the private sector. There are always pros and cons to any issue. In this case, the issue is to make sure it does not become a financial burden to the citizens of Sheboygan. It appears restoration costs would be enormous.”
Sentimental or Practical?
Why is this a choice, saving the Armory is a little sentimental, very practical, and very future forward. The opportunity, and actual cost of not having the Armory is in the Millions of Dollars annually. Ask about plans for a new events Center. The simple truth, Sheboygan can’t host most of the events it used to hold because we don’t have any acceptable alternatives to the Armory.
What restoration costs?
I have read the recent news coverage about the future of the Sheboygan Armory and remember attending games of the Sheboygan Redskins while having the privilege of watching our hometown hero, Ken Suesens.
During high school I went to North-South basketball games. Additionally, I was a guest at some of the Hmong New Year celebrations and paid to hear Bobby Vinton. It rained when I graduated from North High School in 1955 and the ceremony was at the Sheboygan Armory. Although I can honestly state I am emotionally connected to all of those events, it is those that I remember, not the place.
Great memories, I’m sure, yet, without “the place” there are no memories, just as your grandchildren have no memories from the Armory, a building that has, and can continue to provide a venue for memory making events well into the future. It’s sad that you don’t remember the perfectly polished hardwood floor, or some of the most beautiful natural lightning ever seen by man. Yet, we all remember things in our own way. Maybe it was that pure audio dynamite, or that special person we met, memories can be as subtle as a whisper.
The Sheboygan Armory is about 70 years old and suffering from the ravages of age and insufficient maintenance by its owner, the City of Sheboygan, because of no justifiable reason to do so. It was built as a Work Progress Administration project before the Second World War and is not architecturally attractive. Other examples of his style of architecture in presently occupied buildings are our courthouse and the post office.
The Armory is as old as it feels, knock on the walls, jump on the floors, they feel like new, look like new, the City of Sheboygan has been perpetuating the myth of the Armory’s decay since the late sixties. It was barely 30 at the time, in architectural years, it was, and is a child. Many memories later, the Sheboygan Economic Development Corporation, now the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation, saw the promise of this child and developed a campaign for the future of Sheboygan, Spaceport Sheboygan, that held at its core, the Armory. Continue reading
A little bit to the east, right on the Sheboygan lakefront, sits The Armory, a building that hosted everything from hoop games to candidates to pro wrestlng and high school hops, not to mention big bands and other acts. It’s been closed since 2007, and is crumbling as the city decides its fate.
The Sheboygan Armory sure does!
The Citizens of Sheboygan came out in droves two Summers ago, this inland lake was getting more traffic than in recent years.
It was the first time in awhile it was open to the public.
Last year it was privatized for a ridiculously low amount of money. The council vote was unanimous, the last words spoken where boasting that with all due respect to… the Quarry will be back to it’s glory days, with lifeguards. With all due respect, it flopped, and there never were any lifeguards.
This oddness was rocketed through City Hall with a joint meeting between two boards allowing it to avoid reaching the City Council were it was soundly passed. Continue reading
Brian Gaynor of the Des Moines Register copped some nice research about the breaking of the racial color barrier in the old National Basketball League, for a piece he wrote that appeared this week in the Sheboygan Press.That milestone happened in 1942 with the Chicago Studebakers and the Toledo Jim White Chevrolets, the two teams which had signed numerous African American players that year — the first time a major professional sports league had done so (see Black Fives Blog: Was Baseball Racial Integration Leader? Or Basketball?, and Black Fives Blog: Toledo (Ohio) Black Basketball History).Both teams visited Wisconsin to play the Sheboygan Redskins, a team that eventually joined the National Basketball Association. The Studebakers got there first.Gaynor: Continue reading
“It might be tempting for the City of Sheboygan to throw in the towel and rid itself of the 72-year-old Armory building. The Armory is, after all, in need of expensive repairs and there are those who argue its useful life is at an end.
That kind of thinking is a mistake. The city should take a step back and thoroughly examine all of its options, particularly now that a citizen group has came forward in hopes of revitalizing the facility. The Armory Foundation wants to partner with the city to make the Armory a viable operation after Spaceport Sheboygan vacates the facility in February and moves to the South Pier District.
The options appear relatively clear:
1. Sell the Armory to a third party;
2. Raze the structure; or
3. Work with the Foundation to revitalize it.
History dictates that the city make every effort to exercise the third option before resorting to either of the other two. Continue reading
The building holds promise, our plan: Simple
We wish Dan and his crew at Spaceport Sheboygan a great future in their new location.
The Sheboygan Armory is one of Sheboygan’s Jewels, this Works Progress Administration gift to the Citizens of Sheboygan is an asset that we cannot afford to lose. It will pay for itself for generations to come both financially and culturally.
Preserve – Improve – Enjoy
1. Depression + WPA + Long Term Thinking = Sheboygan Courthouse and Sheboygan Armory.
2. Armory operational costs 1980-2006 were roughly $100,000 dollars per year. This included a full time employee.
The Blue Harbor Convention center investment from city = $8,000,000.
$8,000,000 Divided by $100,000 = 80 years of operations at the Armory.
3. 2007-2012 Utility costs of $25,000 per year multiplied by five years = $125000 to taxpayers + no access = Unfair to Citizens of Sheboygan.
4. 1941-2006 = 65 years of Armory Access = A Sheboygan birthright.
5. 100 more years of Armory Access for Sheboygan Citizens + Incredible events = A Positive Long Term Goal for Sheboygan.
6. Nice to see you’re paying attention.
Lets not waste a piece or Sheboygan’s History, Seventy years of tradition can continue. Our ancestors built this for Sheboygan and a majority of Sheboyganites still love the Armory and feel and believe in it’s relevance.
The Armory just needs Fresh Ideas and Some Old Traditions!
Concerts and venues with seating capacity of 5,000. Trade shows, car shows. dances, sports, arts,, Taste of Sheboygan, plays, Gus Macker finals, Boat shows, Winter farmers markets, Coho Derby, fundraisers, Cultural fests, US Sailing camps, tech Workshops, graduations, reunions,, political rallies, education, weddings, proms, films, speakers, circus, are you still reading, great?
Voluntary Armory staff could book events and functions
Can seat 3500 people, at 10 dollars a ticket, 35,000 dollars for one event in revenue.
Just because we have new field-houses does not leave the Armory without a purpose.
Firing Range could be used by the public instead of Urban middle school.