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All along the water tower

Updated: 2013-12-10T05:42:42Z

By TRACI ANGEL

Special to The Star

That white tower that rises above the intersection of 75th Street and Holmes Road is getting some attention.

City money allocated through the Public Improvements Advisory Committee is allowing for improvements to the castle-like tower that stands 134 feet tall in what is aptly named Tower Park. Its diameter is 40 feet.

The structure, built in 1920, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The water tower has a pretty significant impact on the surrounding neighborhoods,” Councilman Scott Taylor said. “Everyone who has grown up in the area knows of it, and it is important that we maintain it for the future.”

The main work includes includes replacing the roof and repairing deteriorated concrete, but this phase also is expected to include bird screens and painting the upper part of the tower from the balcony to the top, said project manager Robert Lawler. The screens will keep the birds from nesting inside the tower.

Because of the weather, he added, the project is likely to take longer than anticipated.

About $350,000 was allocated through the city’s funding cycle last year. The base bid was $266,000 for the roof, concrete repair and repainting and a bid alternate of $5,875 for the bird screens. That leaves some contingency for other improvements such as cutting a door at the bottom and looking at additional structural repair to the roof beams.

Future plans could involve painting the rest of the tower, repairing the outside ladder and adding landscaping and a wrought iron fence, Lawler said.

It’s also hoped that stairs or an elevator eventually could take people to a lookout on top.

The progress is good news for the Waldo Tower Historic Society, which formed about four years ago with the intention to preserve the landmark.

The nonprofit that formed has raised about $19,000, and historic society president Kurtis Marinez said the group hoped to hold a fundraiser in the near future.

The tower’s historic fame comes from the fact that it was noted as one of the early examples of continuously poured steel reinforced concrete structure. The tower served residents south of 52nd Street until the late 1950s.

The historic society has listed future goals such as lighting and solar panels and perhaps other ways to draw the public’s attention to the structure.

“Once it’s preserved and repaired with nicer fencing, it will look more regal,” Marinez said.

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