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Monona landmarks commission to discuss removal of Springhaven Pagoda

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The Springhaven Pagoda, a locally designated landmark structure located in Stone Bridge Park in Monona, is on the Oct. 13 Landmarks Commission agenda for discussion and possible action on a request by the City of Monona for removal and future replacement.

The Pagoda roof has been an ongoing discussion topic with the Commission for some time given its poor condition, and there is now concern regarding the integrity of the remainder of the structure given its age and foundation condition.

In March, the Monona City Council approved the award of the contract for the Springhaven Pagoda Rehabilitation Project.

The scope of work was for the existing roof to be removed from the Pagoda base, with a replacement to be cast and placed. It was expected that the work could run concurrently with the other improvements taking place at Stone Bridge Park.

Much of the reasoning behind the work was based on a 2016 Historic Preservation Plan, which stated that the columns were in a good condition, and that the existing Pagoda foundations and columns were capable of supporting a new roof.

Project timing meant that the Stone Bridge Park improvements began before work could begin on the Pagoda. It was brought to the attention of city staff that the Pagoda foundations and columns were in a much worse condition than expected.

This was confirmed through a site visit with the consulting engineer and city staff. The main concern is how the columns are connected to the foundation of the Pagoda, as well as the condition of the foundation itself.

The city’s Landmarks Commission conducted a site visit during their Aug. 11 meeting, where they were in agreement that the roof project should be put on hold.

A formal motion was made to recommend the termination of the Springhaven Pagoda Rehabilitation Project Contract to the Monona City Council along with the possible removal of the structure while equipment is on site.

The motion passed unanimously. City Council voted on Sept. 7 to terminate the contract for the roof replacement and utilize existing equipment to remove the structure.

Given that the Springhaven Pagoda is a locally designated landmark, the regulation of demolition or removal falls within the Landmarks Commission’s purview.

The Landmarks Commission considered the request at the Sept. 8 meeting, but requested a second opinion on the structural integrity and the possibility of preservation before making a formal decision.

Pending Landmarks Commission discussion, the tentative plan would be to either remove the existing Pagoda and replace with a full reconstruction, or to repair and restore the existing structure.

The Landmarks Commission will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 4:30 p.m. at the City Hall Conference Room (5211 Schluter Road) and online via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86019197377.

The public may contact City Planner Doug Plowman at dplowman@ci.monona.wi.us or attend the meeting to share their feedback.

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