MANITOWOC – City of Manitowoc’s new Department of Tourism, Visit Manitowoc, will open a new downtown visitor center this fall.
The center will be at 824 S. Eighth St. and will open during the 34th annual Lakeshore Holiday Parade the evening of Nov. 23.
“The new downtown visitor center will be easily accessible and serve tourists coming to the area, offer ample parking via both free public lots and street parking, and provide information of tourist interest in both print and digital formats that highlights the many local attractions, shopping , restaurants and more in the Manitowoc area,” the city said in a news release.
Throughout the SS Badger Lake Michigan car ferry’s sailing season, Visit Manitowoc operated a visitor information center inside the car ferry ticket office. That visitor center will close for the season after the last sail on Oct. 16 and reopen in May upon the SS Badger’s maiden voyage of 2023. That center will serve as an additional welcome center to passengers entering Wisconsin each sailing season to come, the news release said.
Visit Manitowoc’s staff office will remain inside City Hall until the move in mid-November.
Any business or organization looking to display materials in the Visit Manitowoc visitor center can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 920-686-3508. There is no charge to have materials displayed.
RELATED: As a lawsuit lingers, Manitowoc tourism director says building new city department has been ‘very fun and exciting’
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► Ruth St. John and John Dunham West House and Gardens joins State Register of Historic Places: The Ruth St. John and John Dunham West House and Gardens in Manitowoc were recently listed on the State Register of Historic Places, Wisconsin Historical Society said.
The Ruth St. John and John Dunham West House and Gardens has been added to the State Register for its association with Ruth St. John West, the Historical Society said in a news release.
Although she did not have any academic knowledge of horticulture or gardening, West turned her house, “West of the Lake,” into the “largest and most elaborate privately owned garden in Wisconsin,” the release said. She was directly associated with creating multiple garden clubs in the region.
As a widely known garden expert, West also traveled throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest for hundreds of engagements on lectures and demonstrations for gardening, horticulture, flower arranging, table setting and the home.
RELATED: Manitowoc icon Ruth West was an avid gardener, patron of the arts and beloved humanitarian
The Ruth St. John and John Dunham West House was constructed in 1934 and designed by the couple in the Streamline Moderne style. Over time, the property expanded, as did the spacious gardens in a well-manicured landscape. The gardens were highlighted by colorful flowers and held Tulip Teas and garden tours to raise funds for local organizations.
Today, the property is operated by the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation, Inc., which continues the West’s enthusiasm of horticulture.
West of the Lake Gardens, the botanical garden, is at 915 Memorial Drive, Manitowoc, and is open to the public 10 am-5 pm daily between Mother’s Day weekend and mid-October.
► Wisconsin Maritime Museum lands $500K grant for USS Cobia dry docking:Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc has received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service for the dry docking of World War II submarine USS Cobia.
The funding, part of NPS’s Save America’s Treasures program, will boost preservation efforts of the USS Cobia that are estimated to cost $1.5 million, the museum said in a news release.
Docked outside the museum on the Manitowoc River, Cobia is not only a National Landmark vessel, but also symbolizes Manitowoc’s role in the allied victory in the Pacific, the museum said.
The submarine is staged to undergo critical hull maintenance in 2025. The restoration centers on towing the submarine to Sturgeon Bay for dry docking at Fincantieri Shipyard for necessary hull inspection and repair.
The museum last dry docked USS Cobia in 1996. This is part of regular required maintenance for historic vessels of this type, the museum said.
The submarine is expected to be away from Manitowoc for four to six weeks in early fall 2025 as the restoration work is completed.
The museum, at 75 Maritime Drive, has started raising matching funds for the federal grant with $150,000 already contributed by the project’s anchor donors, City of Manitowoc, Bank First and Nicolet National Bank. Another nearly $100,000 has been raised by museum supporters, submarine veterans and local foundations, the museum said in the release.
“We hope the community will help bring this project over the finish line,” said museum Executive Director Cathy Green in the release. “We want folks here in Manitowoc to be a part of this historic endeavor.”
People can donate to the project online at https://www.wisconsinmaritime.org/join-and-give/donate/ or contact the museum at 920-684-0218.
► Two Rivers Central Park West 365 Project gets $10K lift from Shoreline Hometown Credit Union: Shoreline Hometown Credit Union, based in Manitowoc County, has donated $10,000 to the Two Rivers Central Park West 365 Project.
With a goal of transforming the Two Rivers park into a local hub for outdoor activities, the project will include updates to existing park features as well as new attractions.
The upgrades include an ice skating loop and water feature, a multipurpose building, and a bandstand with a larger audience area.
Shoreline has served as a member-owned nonprofit financial cooperative for more than 80 years. It began as Hamilton Credit Union in 1941 with a membership composed of Hamilton Company employees. It has approximately 8,000 members in nine counties that include Brown, Outagamie, Winnebago, Door, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan.
► Manitowoc launches effort to update Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan: City of Manitowoc is kicking off the process of updating its Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
The plan, last updated in 2017, includes all city-owned and maintained parks, natural areas, trails and recreational programming.
The planning process will take place over the next six months with the goal of adopting the plan in spring 2023, a news release said.
The plan will be the guiding document for the city over the next five years and makes the city eligible for state and federal grant funding to assist in implementing the plan.
The process will focus on gathering public input, analyzing existing conditions, determining priorities and recommendations, and developing implementation action items to be pursued, the news release said.
As part of the kickoff to the project, residents and visitors are invited to participate in a city-wide parks survey. The survey will run until Oct. 17. People can participate online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MANITOWOC_CPRP.
For more info, call 920-686-3580, email email@example.com or visit www.manitowoc.org/recreation.
► MPSD seeks community input into strategic plan:Manitowoc Public School District is seeking community input into a three-year strategic plan to set district priorities.
The Board of Education and MPSD employees were surveyed in August and September for feedback on what’s working well in the district and what needs improvement.
Now, the district is surveying district families, as well as the greater MPSD community of residents, taxpayers, and business and community partners.
The survey also includes input into the hiring of a permanent superintendent.
Before completing the survey, community members may want to review data compiled by district administrators about MPSD’s current state of finances, enrollment, non-program costs and state report cards.
The community Strategic Planning Survey will be open until 5 pm Oct. 7. The Board of Education will hold listening sessions with MPSD staff in November with the hope of developing a final plan for approval in January 2023.
The community can learn more about the strategic planning process and next steps at manitowocpublicschools.org/strategic_plan.
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