St. Clair Shores councilman wants to save an obsolete tower that's part of the city's heritage

Posted at 1:26 PM, Jan 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-23 18:36:43-05

ST. CLAIR SHORES, (WXYZ) — Saving a water tower that was built in the 1920s in St. Clair Shores has become the mission for a city council member, determined to keep what he says is part of the city's heritage.

Some might call it an eyesore. Others, a community staple. But whatever you call it, it's on the chopping block and the clock is ticking.

“I would agree that it’s not a pretty sight as it stands right now. But to me, taking a look at this, this has been with our community since 1929, it’s seen the growth of our community,” says St. Clar Shores City Councilman David Rubello.  

During Tuesday's city council meeting, members heard bids to demolish or repair the tower, which city leaders estimate hasn't been in use in at least 40 years.

St. Clair Shores Community Development and Inspections Director Christopher Rayes said, “Sadly demolition looks like the proper choice at this point.” 

To tear it down would cost the city around $40 thousand. To preserve the water tower and make it structurally sound would cost nearly 10 times that.

“It’s iconic, it’s been a part of St. Clair Shores for almost 100 years. It would be fantastic if we were able to preserve that,” says St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby.  

The tower hovers over the St. Clair Shores golf club along Masonic Blvd. The tower is visible from Harper Ave.

Both Walby and Rubello understand the price tag here and it's a hard sell. One option for the city? Finding an advertiser to help foot the repair bill.

“It’s great visibility, it sits pretty high in the sky,” says Rubello.

At Tuesday's council meeting, members decided to table the issue for six months. This gives Rubello some time to find a way to keep the tower or agree to proceed with a demo. He's putting together a list of possible advertising partners now.

“I’m not sure you’re going to get takers to go 400,000 dollars at least for advertising or what advertising would be,” said St. Clair Shores City Councilmember John Caron.

Rubello says, “I’m not saying we’re going to be able to do it but I have hope that we’re going to do it."