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Mt. Airy Water Tower To Become Historic Landmark

The iconic Mt. Airy water tanks are a City Council vote away from being an historic landmark.  
A committee approved the proposal Tuesday and a final decision from the full City Council is likely Wednesday.

The facility, often referred to as "The Castle," was built in 1926 and 1927.  

Greater Cincinnati Water Works has pledged to renovate the facility after considering a couple of scenarios that involved demolition.  

That rallied Mt. Airy residents like Cindee Walsh to begin work to save the structure.

"If it was torn down I really think I'd have to move," Walsh said. "Because I don't think I could stand driving up the street and not seeing it, because it is home. It's kind of like going home to your house and you have that feeling when you see it."

Anita Killian also worked to preserve the landmark.

"If you were to not keep the water towers, it would be like tearing City Hall down for the city," Killian said. "It means that much to Mt. Airy."

Resident and former City Council member Kevin Flynn spent a couple months researching the water tanks.

"I'm so happy that Water Works has worked with us and they've come up with a plan where they will be able to preserve and restore the entire water tower complex," Flynn said.

Water Works will rehab the full facility facade, which will maintain the current footprint of the structure. It will still be used for water storage.

Water Works began reviewing the tanks last year and came up with a number of options including rehabbing the entire structure or parts of it, and several demolition and rebuild options that could have included a new, modern water tank. Those carried price tags ranging from $6.5 million to $30 million.

The utility met with Mt. Airy residents in May and came up with the rehabilitation plan, which according to an October 2018 memo, is estimated to cost $10.4 million.

Water Works reports seven brick tanks will be rehabiliated consisting of brick, foundation and roof repairs. In addition, six failing concrete towers will be replaced with new concrete facade.

Construction may begin in late 2019 or early 2020. 

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.