After stripping name from village park, Sauk City to build sign honoring August Derleth

May 1, 2019

August Derleth’s legacy was discussed at length during the April 30 meeting of the Sauk City Village Board as a proposal to construct a sign honoring his contributions to the Sauk Prairie area was approved.

The sign will be located along the trail running through Sauk City Riverfront Park. The move comes after the board voted 6-1 to change the name of the park from August Derleth Park. Derleth was a famous author of historical non-fiction and Sauk City native.

Dave Rachel of the August Derleth Society asked the board to allow the trail in the park to carry the name August Derleth Nature Trail.

“If you go on trails.com, this trail is the August Derleth Trail,” Rachel said. “We ask the board that they would continue that trail.”

Village President Jim Anderson said it “makes sense” to have the trail be named after August Derleth.

Mary Schweitzer, who made the trip from Milwaukee, spoke highly of Derleth and his contribution to the Sauk Prairie area.

“He was a great man and he loved this area so much that when he was offered to go into the outer world to make a big name for himself, he refused,” Schweitzer said. “This was his Sauk Prairie... He lived here his whole live.”

Jerry Exterovich, whose mother ran a flower shop Derleth was fond of, said he agreed with the decision to rename the park.

“I know it was a hard decision and I just want to say thank you for making it,” Exterovich told the board.

Exterovich, who specializes in exterior development, said he would like the “gauge the interest” of a new August Derleth Park.

“I want to make sure that everybody is thinking about what we could do beyond just the sign,” Exterovich said. He said he has a potential area for the new park picked out and some plans in the works.

The Village Board agreed to have the August Derleth Society submit a proposal for what the sign will look like and say, and continue the discussion at that point.

Village Hall Renovations Discussed

MSA Senior Project Architect Carter Arndt unveiled plans to remodel the Village Hall.

The renovations would include adding two accessible bathrooms in the entry vestibule, a dedicated village board meeting room, a walled off area for administration officials and a new common lobby.

By erecting new walls in the Village Hall, the project would separate the building into three distinct sections for Sauk City staff, citizens, and village board meetings.

The estimated cost for the remodel is $700,000 while the estimated cost for a new building, which the board has also considered, is $2.8 million.

The project would be completed in phases. The overall process could be completed in about a year, Arndt said.

“Otherwise you could approach it incrementally,” Arndt said.

Other Business

The Village Board approved motions to officially recognize Municipal Clerks Week, National Police Week, Emergency Medical Services Week and National Public Works Week.