Huson Tower will rise again - stronger

IT MAY NOT BE historic, but it will be a landmark – and it will be stronger. City officials are moving forward with plans to rebuild the Huson Tower on Yankee Hill after it was tragically and senselessly destroyed in an arson fire a little less than a year ago.

The city sought bids for the project, which were opened last month, and the results were mixed.

The low bid on the tower replacement, $164,000 from MZ Construction of Linden, was within the range the city and – more importantly – the city’s insurance carrier had expected, so the project can go forward.

However, MZ’s bid for adding the historic cupola and windmill to the top of the tower came in at $35,000.

Since the original cupola and windmill had been removed from the landmarked structure decades ago, their replacement is not covered under the city’s insurance.

The Plymouth Historical Society had requested the addition of the cupola and windmill and said it would pay the cost of the addition, but the $35,000 bid exceeds the funds the society has available, so that part of the project will likely be put on hold.

In the meantime, a test of the tower’s original foundation – which officials hoped could be preserved and reused – showed that it would not be strong enough for the tower to hold up in extremely strong winds.

So it’s back to the drawing board for the city to develop plans for a new, stronger foundation as part of the tower restoration.

The good news there is that the low bidder, MZ Construction, has agreed to put the contract on hold until the new foundation design is completed, and the city’s insurance carrier has agreed to cover any additional cost that will entail.

“It is an easy fix,” project architect Mark Pfaller told the City Council.

That’s certainly good news, and it’s also good to know that the new tower will not only be an accurate reproduction of the historic structure but will also be structurally more sound.

It is to be hoped that the Plymouth Historical Society will be able to find a way – and the funds – to complete the tower restoration with the vintage cupola and windmill.

Also good news is that at least one of the perpetrators of this senseless crime, Andrew Manderle, will be spending eight years in prison after pleading guilty for his part in the act. Congratulations and thanks to those in law enforcement and the judicial system who all did their part in ensuring that some justice was meted out in this case.

The best justice may prove to be the completion of a new Huson Water Tower. It won’t be the historic landmark structure, but it will be another attraction and centerpiece for Plymouth’s downtown – and perhaps, once the fi rst phase is completed, it will act as a spur for the needed donations to cap it off with the cupola and windmill.


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