NY Water Tower Scheduled for Demolition
An almost 100-year-old water tower in Kenmore, New York, has been scheduled to be demolished this spring. Village officials report that the removal of lead paint on the structure could begin as soon as next month.
Kenmore Mayor Patrick Mang said the village opted to hire a contractor to take down the structure because this made more financial sense than maintaining a tower that's no longer in use. The water tower has not been operational since the 1970s.
“We actually found that it would be cheaper to demo it than try to fix it and paint it,” Mang told The Buffalo News.
While the tank is considered “structurally sound” and has been repainted in the past, in recent years the deterioration has accelerated, notably the rusting roof on the tank.
“It has been getting rustier and rustier, and worse looking every year,” Melissa Foster, the Kenmore Village Improvement Society president, said. “The complaints have gone up significantly, and so I think that them removing something that looks really worn and not cared for ... is going to be welcome from a lot of people.”
About the Tank, Demolition
Originally known as the “Million Gallon Water Tank,” the structure was completed 96 years ago at the corner of Elmwood and Mang avenues. It was constructed to address complaints from residents about low water pressure and excessive water bills.
A notable part of the village skyline since it was erected in 1927, the tower's tank was drained and disconnected in the 1970s. https://t.co/GCb2kFQmbg— The Buffalo News (@TheBuffaloNews) February 9, 2023
Mang said that replacing the tank top and performing other necessary maintenance, including a new paint job, would cost more than tearing it down.
Historian Ed Adamcyzk said the tower is part of the village’s history. In its early days, a red arrow was painted on top to guide planes toward the airport in Cheektowaga and a light on the tower would alert police officers when they needed to stop back at headquarters, like a “bat signal.”
“It is an iconic piece of property, a landmark,” he said. “Unfortunately, though, we're gonna have to take it down.”
While there was reportedly no real push to save the tower, other ideas had initially been proposed for its upkeep. A 2020 study conducted by members of a University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning workshop had even suggested painting the tank as part of a public art initiative in the village.
“I don't see anybody ever agreeing on the design that would go on a canvas that large,” Foster said.
Paul Billoni, owner of Colvin Cleaners across from the tower, said depending on the cost, he would have welcomed the opportunity to slap his logo on the tank.
“I mean, I probably would have asked a company like mine, ‘Hey, look it, if you pay for the painting, we'll let you put Colvin Cleaners all over the tower,’” said Billoni.
Last year, the Village Board reportedly approved contracts with Wargo Enterprises of Akron to remove lead paint and demolish the tower and tank, at a total cost of $773,000. Mang noted this does not include engineering costs, but does factor in the value of the scrap metal from the structure that Wargo can remove and resell.
Initially, the project was expected to be done last fall, but timing “didn’t work out” and was shifted to this spring. Depending on weather, the paint removal and demolition could take as little as three weeks.
Mang reported that they will know more details following a pre-construction meeting with a contractor, but demolition might require temporarily relocating residents who live closest to the water tower or closing off a portion of the streets to traffic.
Additionally, a set of portable antenna known as cell on wheels will be set up at Mang Park, as T-Mobile has a set of antennas on the tower. Afterwards, the village plans to construction a replacement cellular tower on the site.
Work is anticipated to be completed by May 31.