Dawson will have a new landmark by the end of the year, as they tear down the old water tower and put up a new one. The old water tower, in the classic “Tin Man” style, is eroding and can’t be maintained anymore, said Mayor Paula Sears.

“A lot of citizens were upset, but with that top on it there’s no way to save it,” Sears explained.

The current tower, which is more than 70 years old, has holes in the conical roof, and the bowl could puncture if the city tries to pressure wash it prior to painting, Sears said.

The new tower will be a pedisphere, which looks like a golf ball on a tee, said Keith Eaton, regional sales manager for Caldwell Tanks out of Louisville, Ky., the firm building the new tank.

The new tower, to be constructed right next to the old one, will be larger and cost more than half a million dollars. It will hold 75,000 gallons, and is designed to provide water pressure for the city.

Elevated towers pump water up into a storage tank, and use gravity to create water pressure.

“This is our drinking water, this is the life of the city,” Sears said. “Without it we’re not taking baths.”

The old tower will be scrapped, and the money go into paying for the new tower.

To pay for the project, the city has won a $250,000 federal grant administered by the Office of Rural Community Affairs, and is borrowing another $300,000, Sears said.

The city had originally intended to borrow only $275,000, but the lone bid came in higher than expected because of the escalating cost of materials.

“It (the price of steel) is going crazy,” Eaton said.

The grant was awarded in June 2005, and must be spent by June 2007.

“The purpose is to address water, sewer, and housing projects that benefit low-income persons,” said Julie Kelly, spokeswoman for the Office of Rural Community Affairs. Dawson’s grant is one of 187 Community Development Fund Awards chosen in 2005, totaling $50 million. Ninety-three percent of the money comes from federal block grants.

Caldwell Tanks will subcontract out the destruction of the old tower, and how they take it down will depend on how much room they have to work, Eaton said.

“If there’s room, they’ll just knock it over. If there’s not room they’ll use a crane to cut it apart and lift the pieces off of there,” he said.

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Janet Jacobs may be contacted via e-mail at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com

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