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Brainerd water tower roof slated for construction in September

The new roof is meant to stop further water intrusion in the tower's bowl.

Brainerd Historic Water Tower Sunset3.jpg
Historic Brainerd water tower Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at sunset. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — Construction on a new roof for Brainerd’s historic water tower could start in a matter of weeks.

The first week in September is the tentative date for work to begin, depending on staffing numbers at Hy-Tec Construction.

The work will include placing a synthetic rubber roof on the top of the tower to prohibit further water intrusion into the structure’s bowl along with a roof hatch, new downspouts and revamped lighting. Hy-Tec Construction bid the project at $385,000, which was higher than expected, forcing a change to the scope of work.

More on the water tower
The calendars are expected to include photos of old Brainerd buildings that are no longer standing.
Hy-Tec Construction will complete the work for $385,000.
A synthetic rubber roof will help to prevent further water intrusion in the century-old structure.
The city can now solicit bids for the first phase of the structure’s restoration, which will include a new roof.
This grant is a matching grant, meaning the city of Brainerd would kick in matching funds — $162,043 — along with the money from the grant for a grand total of $324,086 to construct a new roof for the tower.

The first phase of construction was originally supposed to include renovations to the windows and stairs as well, but higher than expected costs drove the members of the tower’s preservation committee to put those items off until a later date, as they were deemed non-essential parts of the tower.

Funding for the roof is coming from a Minnesota Historical Society grant the committee secured last year for $324,086, which was the originally estimated cost of the first phase of work. Committee members used money they secured through fundraising efforts to cover the additional $60,914.

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Committee members plan to host a kickoff celebration with city officials, members of the public and donors before the project officially begins.

Once the roof is on, the committee will seek a stucco study to determine the exact cause behind the chunks of stucco that have fallen from the tower in recent years and figure out how much repairs will cost. That study is estimated to cost $49,700, at least part of which the committee hopes to receive from another historical society grant next year.

Getting involved

There is one open seat on the Water Tower Preservation Committee. Anyone interested can fill out an application at bit.ly/2SwQ4Rt or pick one up at City Hall. The committee meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month, with the next meeting set for Sept. 21 at city hall. Meetings are open to the public.

Donations to the tower can be made online via the “payments” tab on the city’s website at ci.brainerd.mn.us , with a $2.95 service fee applied to all electronic check transactions and a 3.5% service fee applied to all credit card transactions. The water tower committee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so all donations are tax-deductible.

Water tower memorabilia — including 2023 calendars of historic Brainerd buildings — is on sale at Visit Brainerd in downtown Brainerd, with all proceeds benefiting the tower’s restoration.

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 .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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