City of Cresco to demolish old waterworks building - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

City of Cresco to demolish old waterworks building

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CRESCO, Iowa (KTTC) -- Change is constant, and for some people in Cresco, Iowa, changes made by the city council are receiving some mixed reviews.  It comes after the council approved the demolition of the city's old waterworks building.

Some say it has historic value others say it's not worth the cost.  A lot of the equipment and machinery from the building has already been relocated.  And operations for the building are practically at a standstill.  Yet, the old white structure built in 1891 has stood strong for more than a century and soon, the walls will come down.

"It's very rough," said Rod Freidhof, Cresco public works director. "It's one of those deals where if we would have been sticking money into it over the last 60 or 70 years to keep it up, maybe we could save it.  But it's been let go for so long it's just time to get rid of it."

The Cresco City Council voted to demolish the building and level the property.

"They're going to remove all this hill," said Cresco resident Jeff Wilson pointing to the underground reservoir tanks on the property.  Wilson likes the old site and is searching for an alternative.  "I basically told them (City Council) I'd pay a dollar for it and find someone to turn it into a coffee shop or something of that nature and use it as a historical spot."

But the move isn't about preservation.

"It's mostly a fiscal choice is what it is," Freidhof said.

The costs for renovation are substantial.

"Well we had an estimate on the roof and it was like $24,000 just to fix the roof," Freidhof said.  "And you'd have an old building under a roof.  And you'd have to stick a bunch of money in the building too."

It's a dilemma facing many towns, when times change where will the priorities fall?  And will sentimental value outweigh financial value?

For this old building, it appears, it will go down into Cresco's history.

The space would be turned into a parking lot with the possibility of making room for the town's farmers market.

Freidhof mentioned that a small building would be built underneath the water tower to house some switches still in use.  

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