Brainerd community members who want to help save the city's historic water tower now have their chance.

Three donation boxes will be set up at this week's Crow Wing County Fair, so anyone who wants to donate to the water tower cause can do so.

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The donation boxes-created and set up by members of the Crow Wing County Fair Board-are at the concession stand for the horse arena, the grandstand ticket booth and one other location that was undecided as of Monday night, July 30.

Brainerd Community Action will act as the fiscal agent, collecting the donations and using them to pay for potential restoration costs for the water tower.

An icon in need

The historic water tower has been a Brainerd fixture since its construction between 1919-22, but its future is uncertain.

After recent safety concerns due to stucco falling from the tower and landing in front of the Breen & Person law office on the corner of Washington and South Sixth streets, the Brainerd City Council determined at its July 16 meeting four possible ways to proceed. Three scenarios entail installing a roof on the top of the tower, which would stop water intrusion and provide interior drainage to the existing pipe drain. These repairs are estimated at $2.4 million to over $3 million.

The last option is to the demolish the tower, which comes with a price tag of about $150,000 to $300,000.

Retired from use in 1959-60, the 134-foot water tower now serves a symbolic purpose in the city and is featured on Brainerd's seal. It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1974.