Chicago Billionaire, Pritzker, Bringing Cold War Campus To Wisconsin

Design Teams From 4 Countries Competing To Design Cold War Monument In Kenosha County

Design teams from the United States, Italy, Japan, and Jordan are competing to build a Cold War monument in western Kenosha County.

The competition is part of a larger plan to create a campus on nearly 290 acres in Somers. This will include the Pritzker Military Archives Center for the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago, a Cold War Veterans Memorial, a shooting range and walking paths.

Chicago billionaire and founder of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library retired Col. Jennifer Pritzker is behind the project.

She said as a Cold War veteran herself, she doesn’t think individuals who served in the military from 1945 to 1991 without seeing combat have gotten the recognition they should have.

“It’s because this conflict took such a different manifestation than other conflicts,” Pritzker said. “It was such an ongoing thing it didn’t always result in fire fights, but there were casualties, but not in the same way we think of conventional declared wars.”

Museum board member retired Capt. Jay Williams said by learning more about the major events during the Cold War including the Bay of PigsBerlin Wall, and arms and space races between Russia and the U.S., people will have a better understanding of today’s geopolitics.

“You had nuclear-armed countries confronting each other and yet nuclear war did not break out,” Williams said. “We thought after that, democracy wins. And here we are now, where the main threats to the U.S. now are a competition of Russia and China so we’re back to where we were in the Cold War so I think we better understand where we came from to prepare for the future.”

The monument has been in the works for several years. The Somers Village Board unanimously approved plans for the campus in November 2019.

Full completion of the campus will be done in three phases and is expected to take 10 years.

Donald Stastny, who is overseeing the design competition for the memorial, said a winning design will be announced publicly in March 2022. From there, the memorial will likely take about three years to complete.

Stastny said the memorial will be interactive, reflective and a place of honor.

Read more at Wisconsin Public Radio.

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