Fort Crawford Hotel
Future of Fort
still up in the air
By Ted Pennekamp
Mark Ihm of Platteville and Dale Klemme of Prairie du Chien were at the Prairie du Chien Public Works meeting Tuesday night to explain what is being done about the recent damage to the former Fort Crawford Hotel building and what is in store for the building’s future.
Ihm and Klemme are part of the Crawford Preservation Group which owns the former City Hall building and the Fort Crawford Hotel building. Ihm of Ihm Builders is the principal owner.
Klemme told the Public Works Committee that the recent damage to the soffit and fascia of the Fort Crawford Hotel building was caused by high winds and is covered by insurance. He said that the damaged areas are being worked on and will be repaired. In addition, there is damage to a brick area in the back of the building that will also be repaired.
As for the future of the Fort Crawford Hotel Building, Klemme said the Crawford Preservation Group has had difficulties in renovating the building since the group took ownership in 2006.
Klemme said that various options for the building need to be looked at by the Crawford Preservation Group and the city. He said that one option that has been discussed is to give the deeds to the former City Hall and Fort Crawford Hotel buildings back to the city. Klemme asked that if this were to be done that the Crawford Preservation Group be relieved of the $40,000 that they owe the city. The group is current with their payments of $10,000 per year.
Klemme also said that another possibility is to build four upscale apartments in the upper levels of the City Hall building for approximately $300,000. He said that such apartments would be rented for approximately $550 per month or higher and would generate cash flow so that work could begin on the Fort Crawford Hotel building. If the apartment project were to proceed, Klemme said that he would ask for a deferment on the payments of $10,000 per year. If the apartment project were to begin soon, Klemme said that they would hopefully be completed by the end of the year.
Klemme said that something also needs to be done in order to make the front of the Fort Crawford Hotel building more appealing.
Klemme said that he and Ihm need to sit down with city staff and figure out options and a time line for the Fort Crawford Hotel building. “We need another strategy,” he said.
City Administrator Aaron Kramer suggested that the developer’s agreement needs to be re-drafted as well so as to hold both the developer’s and the city’s “feet to the fire” so that each holds up their end of the re-drafted agreement in order to get things done in a timely manner.
The Public Works Committee then approved a motion to have the city meet with Klemme and Ihm to discuss the options further. The two entities will meet on or before June 15.
The Fort Crawford Hotel building has basically been idle since 1982. The city owned the building from 1982 to 2006. The Crawford Preservation Group has owned the building since.