October 7, 2022 3:15 p.m.
(WGTD) — A nearly $2 million restoration of a building in Kenosha that is on the National Register of Historic Places is nearing completion.
The Southport Beach House in Southport Park, next to Lake Michigan, was built by Depression-era work crews and features an Art Deco-style ballroom.
About 15 years ago, city officials realized the need to spend a lot of money to preserve the structure, according to project manager Mike Maki. “At one point, the Department of Public Works offered to remove the slate roof and go for a simulated slate roof with asphalt shingles,” Maki said. “There was tremendous public resistance to this, so the city scrapped those plans and embarked on an exhaustive project to bring in consultants to see what was going to be needed to bring it back historically correct” , did he declare.
This led to a five-year plan to restore the building’s exterior and carry out essential interior renovations.
The fourth phase of the project, the improvement of the bathrooms and the replacement of several large windows in the ballroom, is currently underway.
The final phase, which will begin next year, will focus on repointing and replacing the brick in the building’s two interior courtyards.
Yet this year, a formal request for proposals from operators who may have an interest in operating a cafe or bistro in the building is forthcoming.
It is unclear whether the ballroom will continue to be rented out for private events, as it has been in the past.