Belmont Lions Club wants to tear down area observation tower, WDNR hasn’t made a decision

The 50-year-old observation tower at Belmont Mound State Park might be coming down.

This comes after years of the tower causing trouble for the local group tasked with managing the area.

Owen Demo, a member of the Belmont Lions Club, remembers going up the tower, but lately, his memories of the place have been bad. The club cleans up the mess people leave behind when they climb up despite the sign and barriers marking the entrance closed.

The Belmont Mounds Observation Tower has been closed off for years, but now the local Lion’s Club (which manages the land) wants to take it down. They said the cost to fix the tower ($100k) and the upkeep is too much. #News3Now pic.twitter.com/4Nsd1kM2Po

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) November 22, 2019

“A lot of the members (of the club) knew about the damage up there because there were people that would take their TV sets up there and throw them over the sides,” Demo said. “The Lions Club would have to clean the mess up.”

The Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office said there have also been several suicides on the tower, as well as reports of trespassing and suspicious activity.

Still, Chief Deputy Troy Loeffelholz said he knows people would miss the tower if it was taken down.

“It’s kind of a landmark for the area,” he said.

The structure has worn over the years, and Demo said the cost of fixing it and trimming trees to restore the view could be more than $100,000, a price he and others in the club don’t think is worth it. Instead, he hopes the club can find a new use for the space.

The Lion’s Club voted to have the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources deconstruct the tower, but the WDNR ultimately makes the call itself.

Missy VanLanduyt, the recreation partnership section chief for the WDNR, said the agency is still in the beginning stages of making a decision on the tower, but it’s leaning in the direction of taking it down.

She couldn’t give a timeline for the decision or for when the tower might ultimately be taken down.

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