Waukesha County

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Waukesha County Reaches Memorandum of Agreement to Preserve Moor Downs History, Save Taxpayer Dollars


A new agreement between Waukesha County and the State Historic Preservation Office would preserve the history of the unusable Moor Downs property while allowing for demolition of the vacant building. Demolition will save taxpayers millions of dollars if Waukesha City Council Members honor the agreement’s intent and vote to permit demolition at their February 11, 2020 meeting.

 “Right now, Waukesha County taxpayers are on the hook to pay millions to maintain a vacant building. This agreement demonstrates a better, more accessible way to preserve Moor Downs history than diverting taxpayer dollars to keep an empty shell standing,” said Allison Bussler, Waukesha County Department of Public Works Director. “We are hoping that city elected officials see this and grant us a permit of demolition during their next meeting.”

The agreement requires Waukesha County to perform seven steps to document and preserve the history of its former Health and Human Services building, which at one point was the site of a health resort:

  • Photo documentation of the building’s windows
  • Photo documentation of the building’s boiler house
  • Photo documentation of the Moor Mud Baths
  • Installation of a Wisconsin Historical Marker commemorating the baths’ historical importance
  • Maintenance of a historical display of the baths at the current Health and Human Services Building
  • Providing a salvage opportunity to the Waukesha County Historical Society
  • Creation and maintenance of a website presenting the history of the building

 Waukesha County has created a website to provide information about the dispute surrounding the former HHS building at www.waukeshacounty.gov/moor-downs-property.

 In 2001, the non-elected City of Waukesha Landmark Commission designated the property as an historical landmark, obligating taxpayers to fund all maintenance and repairs. Waukesha County has spent nearly $500,000 to maintain the empty building. An imminent roof replacement will cost taxpayers nearly a million additional dollars if the vacant building cannot be demolished