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Posted on: September 9, 2022

Starin Park Water Tower Condition to be Assessed Press Release 09-09-22

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Starin Park Water Tower Condition to be Assessed Press Release (PDF)



Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  

Media Contact: Brad Marquardt 

Phone: (262) 473-0139 

Email: BMarquardt@whitewater-wi.gov

 

Starin Park Water Tower Condition to be Assessed 

Whitewater, Wis. September 9, 2022 – On Monday, August 29th, the City of Whitewater sent a Request for Proposal (RFP) to four structural engineering firms on behalf of the City’s Starin Park Water Tower. The water tower sits atop a hill in Whitewater’s Starin Park, on the northern edge of the city, and has served Whitewater for 133 years. It was constructed with locally quarried limestone and has been a Local Landmark, protected by City ordinance, since 2015. 

City Public Works Director, Brad Marquardt, requested proposals to:

  1. assess the tower’s current structural viability to determine if it can be repaired or must be demolished; 
  2. provide potential solutions for repairing the tower, or for demolishing the tower, if necessary; 
  3. provide cost estimates for all potential solutions; and 
  4. identify public safety measures to implement while awaiting restoration or demolition and removal, if necessary.  

Proposals, including costs, are due to the City on September 23rd, with a completed report due to the City by December 2, 2022. Marquardt told the Landmarks Commission at its meeting September 1st, that funding for these professional services is available in the Water Utility’s current operating budget. He expects to recommend a successful proposal to the Common Council at its meeting on October 18th, for approval. 

The Starin Park water tower has provided water for city residents since its construction in 1889. The City has been planning to stop using this tower around the end of this year, once the new blue water tower on the far southwest side of Whitewater is successfully operational and supplying water to meet the City’s needs. 

Concern about the Starin Park’s physical condition arose from a report by Cornerstone Restoration, a masonry firm in Sullivan, Wisconsin, to the Common Council on August 2nd. Cornerstone reported the tower’s limestone and mortar have failed sufficiently, and in their opinion, would require an estimated one million dollars of masonry restoration in order to keep the tower standing. The firm indicated concern that the tower could fall at any time without restoration. Approximately $200,000 would be needed to take down the tower and remove it, per Cornerstone.

According to the Architectural & Historical Survey of Whitewater (Cartwright, 2008; pg. 50), “The best example of stone construction in the city is the water tower in Starin Park, built in 1889. The regularly coursed rusticated limestone walls are laid up in stepped sections that expand from larger to smaller as the structure rises. The walls are accented with belt courses and round arches. Also historically significant, the water tower is distinctive for its stone construction and potentially eligible for the National Register.”

The Whitewater Landmarks Commission, appointed by the City’s Common Council and informed by Municipal Code Chapter 17, was directed by the Common Council at its August 2nd meeting to research restoration costs and potential funding sources to rehabilitate the tower. In response, the Commission asked the Council to first secure professional structural analysis to determine if the water tower can be saved. Members of the Commission include Ben Adamitis Patricia Blackmer, Karen Coburn, Kori Oberle, and Dan Richardson. City Council representative is Lukas Schreiber and City staff representative is Olivia Pratt. Currently there is one vacant citizen member position. 

For more information, contact Brad Marquardt, Public Works Director, City of Whitewater, 312 W. Whitewater Street, 262-473-0139, bmarquardt@whitewater-wi.gov or Patricia Blackmer, Whitewater Landmarks Commission Chair, 262-458-2178, blackmerpa@aol.com 

The City of Whitewater provides efficient and high-quality services which support living, learning, playing and working in an exceptional community. Visit www.whitewater-wi.gov for community information and updates.

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