"Someone out there has got a million-dollar idea."
Brainerd City Council member Dave Badeaux is confident somebody or a group in the community has the key to saving the city's historic downtown water tower.
As council liaison to the citizens water tower committee, Badeaux spoke Thursday, Jan. 17, about an official seal the committee designed for groups or individuals raising money for the tower to use.
"The whole idea of creating that seal is to make sure we're creating a pathway or a funnel system to make sure that the funds are coming back to where they need to go," Badeaux said. "We need the public to know that when all these other groups are out there fundraising that they're in communication with us. ... That seal we've created will just be a nice little way of them being able to visually represent that communication."
The committee formed in October, months after large pieces of stucco fell from the iconic water tower, reminding city council and staff members of necessary-and costly-repairs. Renovations to the tower could cost up to $3 million, whereas tearing it down is estimated at $150,000. The city council gave the committee a sunset date of October 2020, two years from its first meeting, to raise funds, or the tower may come down.
Badeaux wants to see the committee raise at least $1.6 million in that time, as that would at least give the city options.
"Once we hit that $1.6 (million) mark, that puts us in the ballpark of being able to do something," he said. "The question then comes into play and whether we want to take it to referendum to make the extra money, whether or not we have enough money, it'll all the come down to that."
Now, to make sure any money collected by community groups go to the right place, fundraisers can use the committee's seal-which says "Brainerd Water Tower Committee Seal of Approval"-and let others know the committee is aware of the specific effort.
"I've had quite a few phone calls about various different things, just people saying, 'Do you know about this? Do you know about that?' And if I don't, I have to be honest and say that I don't," Badeaux said. "So what we want to do is reach out to the public and these people that have ideas and say, contact us. Let us be aware of what you're doing so we have information of how to get ahold of you, and then that way you can tell your fundraisers that you are working with us."
Anyone with a fundraising idea can contact committee treasurer Ashley Storm at Ashley.Storm@live.com.
Donations may be dropped off at or sent to Brainerd Community Action, 321 S. Seventh St. Suite 105, Brainerd, MN, 56401. Checks can be made out to "Brainerd Community Action."
"There's so many people out there trying to raise money in different ways, and we definitely want to celebrate that," Badeaux said, "because in order to get this money, it's going to take a lot of people with a lot of ideas."