I was reading in The Selma News today about the town wanting to tear down the water tower by The Selma Cotton Mill. That tower is right down the street from where I live. The tower is actually on town property rather than on Cotton Mill property, apparently.
The theory is that the tower is an eyesore. I will admit that it isn't all that pretty. However, it may not be a bad idea to leave it alone for the time being. There are several reasons for this.
First, the sheer cost. It makes no sense to me that the town is cutting jobs and budgets in a funding shortage to spend the money to tear down the tower unless it is a safety hazard. I went to the tower just this evening and do not see that it is a hazard. The low end of the estimate is $6500 and the high end is $12,000 to tear down and remove the structure.
Second, why spend the money to remove it when we could probably spend less to paint it and make it a landmark? If the town is positioning itself as a railroad town, a place for nostalgia and antiques, why tear down a structure that exemplifies that very thing?
Third, we should investigate every option for removal other than paying tax money for it to be done. Is there a theme park that is looking for Americana items that could use the tower? Is there some bizarre collector needing one? How about a scrap metal dealer that would be willing to take the tower down for the price of obtaining the metal for recycling or whatever use he wants it for? Before we invest tax dollars in its removal, we should exhaust ALL options first. Think "outside the box".
It would by hypocritical if not just plain insulting to lay off town employees and cut budgets only to spend money on this sort of thing right now. I realize that the town officials here in Selma may believe that if we are enforcing eyesore ordinances then the town should also do our best to comply. Not a bad idea. However, we have made efforts already, we have spent some money, we need to conserve money, the tower has been there for decades as is, and it is not (or should not be) a high priority item.
When you give me a tax CUT, then I will be a bit more in favor of tower demolition.