Petition drive launched to save Maureen Mengelt memorial

Thousands have signed petition
Petition drive launched to save Maureen Mengelt memorial

One anonymous complaint has resulted in an order from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for the removal of a memorial to Maureen Mengelt.  More than 2,900 members of the community are hoping their voice are heard through an online petition calling for the memorial to remain.

The petition was launched by Megan Mengelt, Maureen Mengelt’s daughter.  The website has collected more than 2,900 signatures in a short period of time. 

The petition is in response to the DOT’s ruling that the memorial must be removed.  The memorial, which was paid for through donations from businesses and individuals in Sun Prairie, is built on land owned by the DOT.  It is a few yards away from the intersection of Highway 19 and the 151 exit ramp where Maureen Mengelt was killed by a drunk driver in a hit-and-run crash.

Kevin Mengelt, Maureen’s husband, tells WISC-TV that DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb has requested a meeting with the family to discuss the future of the memorial.

According to Jon Freund, mayor of Sun Prairie, the memorial was built with the full knowledge and support of city government.

“The city was very involved and in fact a couple of our building inspectors actually volunteered time to help lay the concrete here on their own time,” says Freund.

He says the city communicated their plans to construct the memorial with DOT in advance of the construction. 

“There was certainly discussion with the DOT before we actually placed this here, and made sure there weren’t any safety concerns and certainly there are not,” says Freund.

DOT ordered the removal of the memorial after receiving an anonymous complaint about it.  Ordering the removal of the memorial is in accordance with state statute and DOT guidelines.   The state requires that roadside memorials be removed if they create a safety concern, fall into disrepair or are the subject of public complaint.

The DOT is allowing the memorial to Maureen Mengelt to remain in its current location pending a decision by the city of Sun Prairie on its future.  The city is exploring the possibility of moving the memorial to a park in Sun Prairie.

“It will remain a part of Sun Prairie in some way.  We hope it is here at the current location.  It is a few feet from where Maureen Mengelt was tragically killed, so we very much hope it is here,” says Freund.