Sen. Bewley: Building Commission Approves Project For Northern Wisconsin
As we get ready to make the turn into 2018, I wanted to take a minute and share some good news. More often than I would like, I have to tell local officials and residents I meet with that rural and Northern Wisconsin were overlooked by a state agency or weren’t given the same consideration by the legislature that was shown to Southeastern Wisconsin. So I’m excited to let you know about some good things on the horizon.
This week the state’s Building Commission signed off a vital project to preserve and protect the historic and natural wonder of Pattison State Park. Thanks to a victory in the budget and the Commission’s support, a new 300 foot communication tower will be constructed in the park to improve spotty-at-best communications -- especially vital for fire protection.
Early residents of the part of Wisconsin we are so lucky to call home settled near the plunging waters of Big Manitou Falls and the rapids below. It has been said the Ojibwa believed they could hear the voice of a great spirit in the roar of the falls.
Martin Pattison, an early lumberman, miner and Mayor of Superior, made his fortune here and in the mines of Minnesota. He so treasured the falls and the surrounding woodlands he acted to purchase and protect much of the area we know today as Pattison State Park. When Conservation Corps 3663 encamped here to build the structures and improve the lands we enjoy today, they joined Forest Ranger Carl Anderson, posted there for fire protection and wildlife enforcement. Protecting these lands from destructive fire has been a priority from the very beginning.
We don’t have a company encamped on site for fire suppression anymore and unfortunately the wild expanses we treasure in this park and throughout the North pose real challenges to the modern communications we need. When DNR Forestry resources respond to these fires they routinely lose radio coverage with dispatch and are frequently left short of resources, creating unsafe situations for firefighters. The new communications tower in the park will protect the park and our firefighters.
We’ve seen the devastating impact of fires in California this year and I am glad to see our area benefit from the foresight of a project to aid the detection and ability to fight fires. Perhaps even more important than the new tower’s role in protecting the park and river valley, emergency services across Douglas County will be able to piggyback on this infrastructure and fill communication gaps that hamper law enforcement, fire and rescue services in our area.
And in another piece of good news, the renovation and expansion of the Telemark property might ready in time for the 2019 American Birkebeiner cross-country ski races. I am working on legislation to give the Town of Cable the ability to use an economic development tool that larger municipalities routinely use. The bill is making its way through the legislature and I’m hopeful that we can pass it soon.
Both of these developments are the result of bi-partisan support, which is another bit of good news. Let’s all hope for more of that in the New Year. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season filled with peace and joy.