By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Nov 03, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Even though people have accused me of being one, I am normally not in favor of the preservation of relics.

I am in favor of progress and generally speaking I think that Milwaukee has done a good job of preserving our history while not standing in the way of development of timely and modern facilities.

I am, however, very concerned about one of our defining architectural gems – The War Memorial Center.

A recent audit conducted for the County Board showed that millions of dollars in repairs were needed just to fix things that needed fixing. Anyone touring the building can see the need for fixes, but there are also questions about the commitment we have to allow the building to flourish.

The building was designed by the Eero Saarinen, an architect with a huge worldwide reputation (he designed St. Louis' Gateway Arch and the landmark TWA terminal at New York's JFK Airport), much like that of Santiago Calatrava, who designed the marvelous building adjacent to the war memorial.

The facility, which was intended to honor veterans and those who died in World War II, was also expected to be a major visual arts center. The Milwaukee Art Institute and Layton Art Gallery merged to form the Milwaukee Art Center and the Milwaukee Art Museum opened its doors in 1957.

In a way I can understand the neglect of the War Memorial. It's as if there are two sisters. One is young and vibrant and enjoys universal acclaim, while the other is old and stodgy and is an afterthought. The Calatrava deserves all the accolades, but the War Memorial is a part of the architecture that defines Milwaukee.

I know these are tough economic times and politicians, like the County Executive, are especially leery of anything that even smells like a tax, but if we don't spend the $5-6 million it would take now it will become $10 pretty soon.

This building is worth saving so it must also be worth fixing up.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.