Waukesha County is now accepting bids for the demolition of the Eble Barn at Eble Park.
The step brings finality to the saga of the structure, which was donated to the county in 1987 by Florence Eble.
"The county has made the decision to take down the barn, but we don't at this point have an exact timeline," said Dale Shaver, Waukesha County director of parks and land use. "It wouldn't surprise me if we had it done before mid-October."
County officials met with contractors for a walk-through of the barn Thursday, July 17. The county has budgeted approximately $25,000 for the demolition.
"We didn't put any time constraints on it, so that allows us to get a better bid environment and a better price," Shaver said.
The county's plans for Eble Park following the removal of the barn are still not set in stone, but the department may reuse parts of the structure as a sort of homage.
"We're trying to draft some master plans before the end of the year," Shaver said.
Shaver noted that citizens can go to WaukeshaCountyParks.com and fill out a survey in regard to desires for parks in Waukesha County.
"We always encourage people to go there and provide us feedback," Shaver said.
As the county begins to accept bids, relatives of Florence Eble, who passed away in 1995, have seen their fight against the county's removal of the barn come to an end.
The family contested Eble intended for the barn to remain standing as a condition of her donation. The county found no evidence of that condition within documentation of the transaction.
Much of the family had conceded the fight in recent months but recent developments still stung.
"We're disappointed, but I guess we've come to accept it," said Rob Klussendorf, Eble's great-nephew. "The writing was on the wall, and there wasn't enough support from the public."
Klussendorf, a former farmer in the Village of North Prairie, felt the barn should have been retained as a reminder of the area's history.
"Waukesha County used to be 'Cow County U.S.A.,'" he said. "There were more cows per square mile than any other county. With that barn going, it loses part of that history."
As a former public servant via the North Prairie Plan Commission, however, Klussendorf understood the family's chances were not good.
"I was the one trying to get part of it preserved or reused so we could get the best out of the situation," he said. "Having been in politics and knowing how the county was thinking about it, that was the best we could do. I hated to give up though."
The county is working with the family to provide pieces of wood from the barn so that relatives might be able to create and craft their own souvenirs.
"Sometimes these things are emotional," Shaver said. "I still believe that some would rather it not come down of course. I understand that. We really, really tried to be respectful of that."
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