Fate of Armory faces critical decision again

by Luke Ulatowski
For The Beacon

THE SHEBOYGAN REDSKINS attracted large crowds as one of the early users of the Armory, original constructed to house National Guard activities and supplies. In 2019 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places -Sheboygan County Historical Research Center photo

A Historic Preservation Commission meeting will once again evaluate whether or not the Sheboygan Municipal Armory is worth saving.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Senior Activity Center of Sheboygan. It will consist of a public hearing in which individuals will be allotted 3 minutes each to speak about the Armory followed by the commission’s debate and decisions.

The commission will discuss two items: whether or not the Armory is a “preferably preserved significant building” and whether there is “no reasonable likelihood that either the owner or some other person or group is willing to preserve, rehabilitate or restore such building.” In 2015 and 2017, the commission voted that the Armory did indeed fit the criteria for preferred preservation. As for the latter item, votes were split down the middle in 2017, leading to no action.

The upcoming meeting was originally set to take place on Tuesday, March 5 at 4:30 p.m. However, that meeting was cancelled on March 4. According to Sheboygan Director of Planning & Development Chad Pelishek, this was a result of “an error in the notice that was sent to adjacent property owners.” That morning, Armory Community Project President Jennifer Lehrke had filed an objection with the city regarding the error.

“Per Section 15.916 (6) of the City of Sheboygan Zoning Ordinance, a notice of time is required at least 10 days in advance to owners of properties abutting the subject of the application,” Lehrke stated in her objection. “Notices were indeed mailed at least 10 days in advance, but they did not include the time of the meeting. Therefore, the Historic Preservation Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday must be cancelled and rescheduled.”

Founded in 2018, the Armory Community Project is an organization that Lehrke suggests is “willing to preserve, rehabilitate and restore” the Armory.

The Armory was built in 1941 for the purpose of housing the National Guard. It was notably utilized as the home arena for the now-defunct Sheboygan Red Skins, one of the original NBA teams.

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