Over $7,000 came in for Brainerd’s historic water tower during a fundraising dinner and silent auction Thursday, Sept. 24.

“We were blown away by the outcome and turnout,” said Mayor Dave Badeaux, who is the council liaison to the water tower committee.

The group working to save the iconic downtown structure put together a benefit dinner at the Brainerd American Legion with food courtesy of Pit Happens Catering and silent donated silent auction items to bid on.

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Food and straight donations brought in $4,000, Badeaux said, with the silent auction items bringing the total up to just over $7,000 after accounting for costs.

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People were lined up around the block waiting for their turn at the food truck.

“The amount of support from the community was great. And the amount of support from the businesses, as well, was just fantastic,” Badeaux said. “The amount of people that were willing to step up and donate items for the silent auction, I think it really shows that people are really supportive and behind the tower.”

With some silent auction items left, and the group hoping to build on their momentum, Badeaux said they may do another smaller event in December to celebrate the water tower’s 100th birthday.

Get involved

Donations for the water tower, which needs extensive repairs or faces destruction, can be made online via the city’s website at ci.brainerd.mn.us or through GoFundMe at https://bit.ly/2MLJWRV. A 3.61% service fee will be applied to all donations through the city’s website. GoFundMe collects 2.9% of the funds raised and charges $0.30 per donation.

Cash and check donations can 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, and all donations should include a note to earmark the funds to save the water tower.

If the committee does not ultimately raise enough money to save the tower, donations of $250 or more will be eligible for refunds. The rest of the funds raised will go to Brainerd Restoration.

Those interested in joining the water tower committee can fill out an application at https://bit.ly/2SwQ4Rt or pick up an application at city hall.

The committee, which is working toward nonprofit status, meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at city hall. Meetings are open to the public.

For more information, visit brainerdwatertower.com or follow the Save the Historic Brainerd Water Tower page on Facebook.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.