March 22 • 09:23 AM

Going, going, gone...

Having served village for 96 years, Almont water tower is demolished

A portion of the village’s ‘apple tree’ logo can still be seen peeking out from the demolition debris. photo by Tom Wearing.

February 18, 2009
ALMONT — With nearly surgical precision, workers from Iseler Demolition dismantled the village's almost century-old water tower on Friday.

Located off the southwest corner of Van Dyke and St. Clair streets since 1914, the 50,000-gallon tank was taken out of service late last year. It was replaced in November 2008 by the new 300,000-gallon tank at the village's industrial park.

Because the old tank had been deemed obsolete and the cost of moving or preserving it prohibitive, city officials opted to demolish the structure. The $24,000 demolition cost was included in the construction project's $2.1 million price tag.

On Friday morning, with a light snow falling and a few curious onlookers witnessing history, an eight-man crew began the demolition process.

The workers brought the tower down section-by-section, with the aid of acetylene torches, guide wires, a large crane and their own professional expertise.

"She's served the town well," said DPW Supervisor Russ Kelley, alluding to the old tower's longevity. "If we can get another 100 years from the new tower — that will be pretty good."

Resident Wes Wagester, who watched the demolition with his 4-year-old grandson Griffin, viewed the demise of the old tower with a degree of resignation.

"It's too bad it would cost so much to keep it up," said Wagester. "But it really served no purpose to the community any more."

DPW worker Bryan Treat was equally pragmatic.

"The village had just outgrown this old tower," said Treat, glancing at a dismantled section of the tower that now lay on the ground. "When you look at it right now, you can see it's too small for the size of this town. But a lot of people will notice now that it's gone."

While acknowledging the historical loss of the old water tower, Village Manager Gerald Oakes said the demolition became inevitable.

"It's a sad day from a historical perspective," said Oakes. "It stood there for 96 years, but it was too small. That was the problem. And it was too expensive to maintain."

Oakes noted that residents are already benefitting from a 15-20 pound increase in water pressure since the new tower was installed.

"A lot of people are telling us their pressure is better now," he said.

Oakes added that removal of the old tower makes room for more parking spaces behind businesses on the west side of Van Dyke.

"We expect to be discussing the possibility of tearing down the old fire hall," he said. "That would open up that whole area for parking."

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