Unbuilt arch gets a foundationBrian Noel, owner of the recently opened Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meats, says Superior’s downtown needs a draw.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Brian Noel, owner of the recently opened Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meats, says Superior’s downtown needs a draw.
And he believes a short-lived icon from Superior’s past — re-created — could be that draw.
He believes it so much, the Grand Army of the Republic Arch is twice depicted in murals in the dining area of the newly opened bar and restaurant.
One features the arch as it looked about 100 years ago at the corner of Broadway Street and Tower Avenue. The other looks as it might appear after the reconstruction of Tower Avenue.
“Things like that have big returns,” Noel said. “There’s historic value. There’s military value. People come out of their way to see things like that.”
Noel said the city should have incorporated the arch in the design of the reconstructed avenue.
“This would have been the perfect opportunity for the city to do it,” Noel said. “It would have given our city a landmark. Take a look at the St. Louis Arch (in Missouri). I’ve been there. It’s just a piece of metal, but they built this whole park around it.”
Last week, the Superior City Council laid the groundwork to keep the city’s options open to restore the arch at the intersection in Superior’s downtown.
“It’s a passion of mine,” Mayor Bruce Hagen said. “I believe it could be a vehicle, a corner stone, a corner cap, for the Tower Avenue project.”
Once the concrete is laid, Hagen said it would be very expensive to revisit that idea. He presented the council with a bid to build the footing pedestals and do the electrical work now, while the street remains unfinished.
Chippewa Concrete submitted a bid to the city for $48,260 to complete that work as part of the reconstruction project.
“I’m going to submit a proposal to the council a plan for a fundraiser, a capital campaign through the private sector with some support from the city to have that arch constructed, hopefully in 2014 or 2015,” Hagen said. “I believe it’s an important icon for the community.”
The original arch that stood at the corner, built in 1900 to honor Civil War veterans, was taken down in 1920 when it was beginning to show its age. The city’s mayor at the time decided to tear it down because “it served no purpose” and was “out of date as a decoration.”
Hagen said like the original arch, the one proposed to replace it will commemorate the service and sacrifice of veterans in the region.
While some councilors were concerned about spending taxpayers’ money based on the hope it would be built, the council approved the measure to lay the groundwork now.
Money for the addition will come from the project contingency fund for Tower Avenue.
“I see both sides of this issue, said Councilor Tom Fennessey. While he concurred spending the money without certainty the arch would be built was concerning, he understood the cost would be prohibitive once the Tower Avenue reconstruction project is complete.
“If we have to go back and remove sidewalk and patch sidewalk, it would add to the cost,” Public Works Director Jeff Goetzman said.