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April 24, 2009 - Water Tower

The Water Tower is down.  The 134-ft, 750,000-gallon, rust-covered vestige of the air base’s old water system was felled yesterday afternoon.  It stood for 50 years not only as a water vessel, but maybe more importantly, as a guardian over the base property along Arizona Avenue and a famous local landmark.

Traveling north after a long trip on I-87, you could see the Water Tower from as far as Elizabethtown and be comforted that home was only a few miles away.  Returning to the North Country from Vermont, the “Platts-burger” came into full view from across the lake as a silent beacon welcoming you back to New York.

Many people will voice their sentiments that they wish the Water Tower could have been saved and preserved.  However, to do so would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars - over 10 times what it cost to remove it.  And, it had far outlived its intended usefulness, becoming an eyesore and blight in the midst of a growing and changing airport landscape, hampering redevelopment.  One prospective hotel developer recently told PARC that she would like to buy Arizona Avenue land and build a hotel, but that she didn’t want to have to look out the west-facing windows and see that rusted-out monstrosity looking back at her.  Hopefully, now that it is gone she and other prospective developers will find the ambiance of the Arizona Avenue properties more attractive and viable for investments. 

All of us at PARC would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people that were involved with the removal of the Water Tower yesterday.  The contractors, Chadwick and Ruprecht, and our engineering consultant from KAS, did a great job of persevering through cold and high winds, and successfully battling a stubborn and stout several hundred-thousand pound engineering marvel, built to last half a century or longer.  Many thanks to the Town of Plattsburgh and Clinton County utility, emergency management, airport, and highway folks that stayed and helped all day.  Sincere appreciation to the State Police and NYSEG representatives who were on hand.  And, much gratitude to the Press-Republican and WPTZ people who patiently waited an extra 8 hours beyond the target time for the belligerent behemoth finally to give up the ghost.  As always, PARC projects are successful only when many agencies and individuals from those agencies give of their time, effort, creativity, and are cooperative and adaptable during whatever site conditions present themselves when the action starts.

The landmark is gone; in a way, sad.  But, we trust the cleared landscape will spur interest and investment that will help to create jobs and economic activity that will prove to be beneficial for Plattsburgh International Airport, Clinton County, and all of us who work and reside here.  That would be good news.  Thanks again to all who helped.

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