Second Yerkes Bidder Goes Public
October 7, 2005 | Last week, Illinois-based Aurora University announced that it had offered the University of Chicago $4.5 million for the 79-acre campus of Yerkes Observatory, home to the world's largest refractor. The other shoe dropped Wednesday with a publicist disclosing that New York resort owners Gary and Linda Dower have offered $10 million for the historic Williams Bay, Wisconsin, facility — an offer that, in an earlier form, spurred intense interest among astronomers and area residents when rumors of it first circulated late last year.
According to Wednesday's press release, the Dowers would like to build a resort on the Yerkes property along with 100 homes "clustered in small groups to preserve the natural areas and woodlands." The press release states that the Dowers would preserve Yerkes and provide approximately $400,000 annually toward its ongoing operation if their bid were accepted. Yerkes director Kyle Cudworth worries that light pollution could compromise stargazing, particularly if homes are built within view of observatory's south lawn.