Historical Society Looks to Complete Repairs on Pierce Building
By Brandi Makuski
One of the earliest buildings in Plover is getting some much- needed improvements years after arsonists destroyed part of the structure.
Village leaders on June 30 approved plans for the Portage Co. Historical Society to move ahead with plans to reconstruct an addition to the Pierce Building in Heritage Park.
The Pierce Building originally served as a grocery and butcher shop along what is now Post Road. It was relocated to the park in 1989, but was vandalized by arsonists in 1994, when the back section of the building was destroyed.
Plover Community Development Director Richard Holden said the move was a no-brainer, but also said the property was quite unique compared with his past experience.
“The only issue that would come somewhat into play is making an improvement on a historic site with-in a historic district,” Holden said, adding there are specific requirements which must be met, including what type of building supplied and procedures can be used, with historic sites. “If this wasn’t in Heritage Park, and someone else were making this request, I’d probably refer to Mr. Anday because I don’t have the expertise.”
Anton Anday, along with Tim Siebert and Jim Abbrederis from the Portage Co. Historical Society, said they’d already gained approval from the state historical society for the rebuild. When the trio gained village approval, Siebert said the trickiest part is yet to come.
“We’re estimating about $165,000 in funds that we’d need to raise,” Siebert said. “That’s going to take a while, but at least we’ve got these steps out of the way with the state and village approval.”
Siebert added the society’s main fundraiser- that of Heritage Days at Heritage Park- is often held at a loss to the organization, despite finishing in the black this year with the popularity of The Engford Family Circus and circus- related items on display.
Abbrederis, who chairs the committee for the reconstruction project, said they’re still tossing around ideas of when to hold a fundraiser and what form it should take.
“We need to be very careful about doing this the right way,” he said. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s not a cheap project, it needs to be done properly, and fund
Village Administrator Dan Mahoney said he’s happy the group had submitted their request to the state prior to making a request from the Village Board, which saved the group a few steps.
It also means the Village Board likely won’t hear about the project again until the historical society has raised the necessary funds to actually begin work.
“We’ve been planning to put this plan into action for a long time,” Anday told the Village Board. “We’re hoping to finish the project, at least externally, as soon as we can.”