"Maintenance Costs Far Exceed The Price To Remove The Structure"
This week marks the 81st “birthday” of the water tower looming over New Carlisle’s skyline. Approval for the tower’s construction was granted on January 5, 1934, with work beginning later that year. Just as the city landmark located on Adams Street surpasses its eighth decade, it will likely not see another, as city officials say maintenance on the aging structure is becoming too expensive.
New Carlisle Public Service Director Howard Kitko said a hydraulic study is being conducted on the water tower, saying the results of the study will determine whether demolition of the tower is safe. Kitko said the city would “remove the tower” if the study confirms it is safe enough to come down.
Kitko said the tower is still functional, though maintenance costs far exceed the price to remove the structure. He said the tower must be re-painted inside and out, as well as performing other maintenance required by OSHA, which will cost what Kitko estimated to be “a couple hundred thousand.” He said the cost of removing the structure would be approximately $28,000.
The downtown tower holds 125,000 gallons, Kitko said, noting the larger tower on Scarff Road contains 1.7 million gallons. He said he had no solid estimation of what a new tower would cost to be erected, but guessed it to be somewhere around one million dollars.
Dave McWhorter of the New Carlisle Historical Society said the city received the tower’s approval from the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works on January 5, 1934, and that construction on the tower began later on November 17 of that year. McWhorter said the project was estimated to cost $13,000 but came in under-budget at just over $10,000. The construction of the new tower included building a new water storage tower, replacing outdated equipment, and digging a 40-foot well on the site.
New Carlisle City Councilman Bill McIntire, also a member of the historical society, said he’d done a lot of reading about the subject via microfilm reels. He said the tower was built in 1934 to replace another, as the former tower was plagued by freezing in the winter. McIntire recalled the old newspaper articles that quoted one of the new project’s engineers as boasting that the new tower would never freeze.
“That next winter, it froze,” McIntire said of the new tower.
The New Carlisle News will notify our readers if the tower is set for demolition.