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Sheboygan Common Council votes to save the armory

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Sheboygan's Common Council has voted to save the armory, looking to put an end to years of indecision on the issue. 

They turned down a multi-million dollar apartment development in the process. It came down to this for some city councilors, they say this local group came forward with a lot of energy and a plan that's been lacking in the past but they're still feeling somewhat cautious about what's been called an 'ultra-optimistic proposal.'

The final vote was 13-3, siding with the group calling themselves "Armory Community Inc."

"We're relieved. We were expecting it to be a little bit closer to even but we're really happy." Jennifer Lehrke described the project at the meeting, laying out plans to preserve the iconic, but now deteriorating, lakeside structure that once played host to well-remembered North versus South High School basketball games as well as community and music events. The idea will include some housing, a cafe, and a pub.

"And there's only one armory. We've got one shot to do this and we've got one shot to do it right."

In the process, council members took a proposal from developer Scott Crawford off the table. It would have added 122 new apartment and townhomes to the city currently in a housing crisis. "I'm not at all discouraged. I still love the city. I think that what the counsel said is it was a good proposal but they just wanted to keep the building at the Armory site. So I understand that. So I'll still be looking in Sheboygan for other development opportunities." said their representative.

The struggle is far from over for the 'Save the Armory' crowd.

"We have to raise $1.5M within 120 days. We have to raise an additional $900,000 within another 180 days. So about six months."

They're confident they will raise that money, saying that some donors have been interested but did not want to come forward until the issue was decided. If they fulfill the requirements to make it to closing, they'll buy the building from the city for $1.

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