Despite the desire by some Palmview city officials to preserve the city’s antiquated water tower as a city landmark the Agua Special Utility District has voted to remove it.
Located at FM 495 and La Homa Road next to E.B. Reyna Elementary School, recent rains have prevented crews from mobilizing heavy equipment near the tower to demolish it, said Agua SUD Executive Director Oscar Cancino. The utility owns the tower.
The tower’s demolition was originally approved during the utility district’s February 17 board meeting despite objections from Palmview’s City Manager Ramon Segovia. Segovia addressed the utility’s board of directors requesting that they table the item to allow the city time to determine the feasibility of purchasing the tower to use as a landmark.
“All we’re saying is give us some time to look into it,” Segovia said, adding that the city council was not set on purchasing the tower but was mainly interested in seeing if such a purchase was possible.
But citing a study, Cancino said it would’ve been too expensive to keep the tower in service. During the February board meeting Cancino said it would cost an estimated $470,000 to repair the tower but only $40,000 to demolish it. Cancino said the expense was cost prohibitive for a tower that wasn’t being used anyway because of its close proximity to existing water treatment plants.
“We’re able to supply the demand directly from the two plants on Abram Road and FM 492 to the residents or commercial users,” Cancino said, adding that the water tower would’ve been a burden to the utility district. “It’s a safety and structural hazard to have a freestanding structure up and it’d be a liability to have the water tower maintained but inoperable.”
In the end the board accepted a bid from a construction firm to demolish the water tower for $40,000. But Cancino said the weather has delayed the project.
“The crew in charge of demolishing the water tower is trying to get a crane in the area but the ground isn’t dry enough to provide a stable base for it,” Cancino said Wednesday. “The plan is for the company to come survey the area within the next two weeks and if the ground is dry enough, they can start the demolition process which shouldn’t take longer than one week.”