Thursday, June 07, 2007
The Winona City Council has voted to tear down the dilapidated Julius Wilkie Steamboat center, which has sat in one form or another on the city's riverfront for 51 years. Some say it's a symbol of the city's historic connection to the Mississippi River.But the paddleboat replica was declared unsafe a year ago, and some council members argue there are better uses of taxpayer dollars and ways to connect downtown Winona with the river. The replica was built in 1981 to replace the original Wilkie, which was destroyed in a fire. But it's fallen into disrepair, and the city estimates it would cost as much as 500-thousand dollars to save it. A volunteer group has raised about 12-thousand dollars to do that, and some members are considering a legal challenge.