Tonawanda News

The Town

September 15, 2013


Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Workers began demolishing the town’s landmark water tank this week after more than 50 years of the structure’s visibility from the Youngmann Expressway.

“It’s a tower that everyone identifies with the town because it’s so visible from the Youngmann,” Town Councilman Joseph Emminger said. “It was one of three water towers, and now we will be down to two.”

Regional Environmental Demolition contractors began the two-week job Thursday, Director of Water Resources Ken Maving said. 

The town decided to tear down the 4-million gallon tank after determining that repairing the structure would be too costly.

“We thought we were just going to paint it,” Maving said. “We had someone take a hard look at it, and found out it needed much more than painting.”

The tank’s steel was corroded and had holes in it, Maving said. The cost of rehabilitating the structure was estimated at $1.8 million, which far exceeds the town’s bond authority for the project. 

The tank, which was built in 1960, hasn’t been in use since 1996, but has held water up until two years ago.

“We used to use it in the summer during demands for more water, but we haven’t had to do that since ‘96,” Maving said. 

Once the tank is demolished, the town will restore the grass on the property. Maving said the tear down of the pump station will be completed separately. 

Apollo Dismantling Services of Niagara Falls was the low bidder for the project and offered to dismantle the tank for $62,204. But two days after being awarded the project, the company backed out of the bid.

The company’s president, Samuel DeFranks, wrote the board and said that its scrap metal buyer could not guarantee a price they had previously committed to.

The town then awarded the project to the next lowest bidder, Regional Environmental Demolition, for $112,223. 

Residents who live near the area have voiced their concern about the demolition of the tank.

“It sets us to wondering what will happen to that area and what they are going to do with it,” Amelia Bursztyn, whose Koenig Road home backs up to the tower, said. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.

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