Water tower flips its top

Staff writer

A water tower in Hillsboro lost its lid in the storms Sunday night and early Monday morning.

At the Hillsboro City Council meeting Tuesday, City Administrator Larry Paine went over the inquiries the city has made into replacing the water tower’s lid.

“The wind that came on sheared the bolts that were holding the lid to the main part of the tank and so it took an opportunity to fly away a little ways,” Paine said. “It landed on top of the lumberyard’s stockroom, creased a part of the roofing structure there, and so we’re working on that.”

The tower, built in 1927, is on national historic register, Paine said, and the city has a grant to do repair work on the tower, which was awarded earlier this year. The specifications of the grant allotted little to the lid specifically.

“About 10 percent, according to what the engineer said this morning,” Paine reported.

Paine said engineer Don Heller estimated bids would come in around $60,000 for the repair.

“Which is kinda crazy,” Paine added.

Concern was raised whether the replacement would have to adhere precisely to the lid’s original design, given its spot on the historic registry. Paine said he thought it would be, though he hadn’t confirmed it with the national historic registry yet.

Paine said he was looking at potential avenues to help cover the cost of a repair including a Community Development Block Grant or a loan from Kansas Department of Health and Environment or the USDA’s rural development division.

“All those have programs that could be applied for in a case like this,” Paine said.

In the meantime, Paine said, the valves to the tower were shut off.

“We were able to identify where those valves were yesterday and they were both closed so we don’t have at this point any water quality questions,” Paine said.

Paine said the city has put in insurance claims for property damage to the water tower and for liability for the damage to the lumberyard.

“This was kind of an unusual event,” he said.

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