Pritzker Archives & Memorial Park groundbreaking taking place virtually; available online Wednesday

From the Kenosha News

Officials with the planned Pritzker Archives and Memorial Park Center in Somers have invited the public to a “virtual groundbreaking” as it begins construction at its 288-acre campus at I-94 and Highway E amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Putting the health and safety of our neighbors first, as well as regarding state and local COVID-19 safety protocols, we’ve transformed our previously planned in-person groundbreaking event into a virtual community celebration,” said Rob Havers, president and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. “It was important for us to find a way to share the vision for the PAMPC with the Village of Somers, because their input on this project is vital and we want our new neighbors engaged every step of the way.”

To mark the groundbreaking, an original video was planned to be made available to the public Wednesday night on the PAMPC website: It features PAMPC leaders and supporters as they share their inspiration for the project and provide insight on the unique features and community benefits of the development.

“The development of this project is critical for our economy,” says Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. secretary and CEO. “Various communities in Wisconsin depend on tourism to bring revenue. Having a special project like this in a unique village and town like Somers gives us the opportunity to draw new visitors that will help our community prosper.”

Surprises planned

The groundbreaking initiative will continue with several “surprises” in store for the community leading up to Veterans Day, as the Pritzker Military Foundation will donate flags to the Somers community so residents can raise an American flag to honor hometown veterans. Somers residents will be able to pick up the flags at the David Leet American Legion Post 552 in Somers at a date and time to be announced soon.

The Pritzker Archives and Memorial Park project was created out of a need for additional space to house the archival collections of the museum and library in Chicago. The state-of-the-art, institutional archive will provide space to restore, preserve and store collections that include books, artifacts and other historical materials, PAMPC staff said.

Each project component will serve to extend the mission of the museum and library “by uniting the past with progress by advancing historic preservation, increasing the public understanding of military history and the sacrifices made by those who served,” a press release about the groundbreaking explained.

The full PAMPC project is planned to be completed in phases over an estimated 10 years. The first phase of the project is to include the Pritzker Military Archives Center, designed by JAHN, an award-winning, internationally recognized architectural firm, along with the surrounding community green space.

Construction will follow on the Midwest Firearms Education & Training Center and Cold War Veterans Memorial, while the building of commercial archival space will be completed on demand.

“It is the highest priority of the PAMPC to create a development of lasting value to share with our neighbors,” Havers said.

Environmental considerations

Fewer than 7 percent of the total 288 acres will have buildings on them with a focus on preserving green space. Wetlands will remain undisturbed and buildings will be energy efficient and utilize solar panels and rainwater collection for re-use, PAMPC staff said.

Construction, led by Pepper/Riley Construction and TAWANI Development, is set to begin later this month, with workers following appropriate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

To view the groundbreaking video and for more information about the Pritzker Archives & Memorial Park Center, go online to

Community members can also sign up on the website to receive project updates via email.