by Joni Astrup
The 91-year-old water tower on Jackson Avenue in Elk River has been selected as one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in Minnesota.
The designation was officially announced Thursday, May 12 by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota during its (Anti) Wrecking Ball in Minneapolis.
Rebecca Haug, environmental administrator for the city of Elk River, said the designation gives the water tower more recognition and support for its preservation.
“It also gives us more opportunity to get grant funding for restoration if that’s the path that the Utilities Commission chooses to take,” Haug said.
The water tower is owned by Elk River Municipal Utilities.
Mayor John Dietz, who also chairs the Utilities Commission, welcomed the Preservation Alliance designation.
“I think that’s a great thing for the city because I think that will open it up for us to be able to get some grant money to help refurbish that. It’s definitely in need of some paint,” he said.
The water tower is a landmark from Elk River’s early days, he said.
“To me it was important to keep it because that’s part of Elk River’s history,” Dietz said. “We don’t have too many things left in Elk River that are very historical in nature.”
The water tower was built in 1920 as one of the first components of the municipal water system in Elk River. It is located along Jackson, just north of Highway 10 and across from the Elk River Fire Station.
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has compiled an annual list of the state’s threatened historic buildings, sites and structures since 1995.
The organization does so to shine a spotlight on these places, to equip local advocates to rally for preservation, and to focus public attention on favorable outcomes that can be achieved through a preservation approach, according to the Preservation Alliance.