Huson Tower rebuild on track

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The landmark Huson Water Tower will rise from the ashes on its original foundation.

City Administrator Brian Yerges reported to the City Council Tuesday on the restoration of the tower on Collins Street, which was destroyed in an arson fire last summer.

The city is advertising for bids to complete the reconstruction, Yerges said. There will be a prebid meeting for the project May 6 and a bid deadline of May 13, when bids should be opened.

Yerges said the goal is to have the council approve the contract for rebuilding the tower at their May 31 meeting.

Tests at the site showed that the original foundation of the tower, constructed in the 1870s, is still in good enough shape to be used in the reconstruction.

“We will be reimbursed for the actual costs related to rebuilding (the tower), with the caveat that there is a $50,000 deductible,” Yerges explained.

“At this point, we don’t know what the final cost is going to be. It’s kind of one of those unique projects where it’s hard to come up with a firm cost,” he continued. The best estimates are in the neighborhood of $100,000.

Yerges added that does not include the cost of a windmill at the top of the tower, which was part of the original structure but was taken down sometime in the past.

The Plymouth Historical Society has said they are interested in paying the cost of the windmill as part of restoring the tower.

“We’ve had various meetings with the historical society and discussion about rebuilding,” Yerges related. “It is the desire of the historical society to make this a community project.”

The windmill and related work has been included as an alternate in the bid documents, so that cost can be separated out, Yerges said.

“We’ll get the bids in and communicate that to the historical society so they can confirm they can cover that cost,” Yerges told the council. “I do know they already have received some donations toward that. They also would like to set up some kind of long-term maintenance fund for the tower.”

The council decided that no further study or consideration is needed at present on the issue of short-term rentals of rooms in private residences in the city.

The issue came before the council at their last meeting in the form of an application for a room tax permit for an Eastern Avenue home where the owner plans to rent out rooms on a short-term basis.

The city currently has several such short-term rentals on websites such as airbandb.com.

“This is an issue not only in Plymouth but in all areas across the country,” Yerges said, noting that it generated considerable discussion at the last council meeting. “Communities are struggling with it.”

He noted that a bill in the state Legislature would limit the city’s ability to govern such rentals of more than seven days.

“I would say for the time being it seems to be OK to leave it like it is,” Mayor Donald Pohlman said of the city’s regulations on bed and breakfasts as well as rooming and boarding houses.

Public Works Director William Immich announced that yard waste drop off hours have been reinstated at the city garage with the return of spring – at least on the calendar.

The drop off site is open from 7 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, he said.

Immich also reported that the city is facing a shortage of lifeguards this summer at the Plymouth Aquatic Center in City Park.

“If anybody out there is interested in being a lifeguard, they can apply on the city’s website (www.plymouthgov.com),” Immich said. “If we don’t have enough lifeguards, we’ll have to adjust the schedule and we won’t be open as much as in the past.”


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