The Clear Lake City Council last night dismissed any notion of turning an old water tower on the city’s northwest side into a home. Clear Lake resident Alvin Stecker wants to take the old, 250,000 gallon water tower and spend up to $750,000 to turn it into a multi-story home with a 360-degree view.
Mark Fisher is among other residents of Four Winds Drive area who oppose the idea. “I think we’d have traffic problems on Highway 18, people pulling over to take pictures, I think it would be a traffic hazzard,” Fisher says. Fisher says his property adjoins the water tower property “and I would not look forward to someone perched 106 feet up in the air looking down into my house at will.”
The old water tower is in the process of being replaced by a one-million gallon water tower that is scheduled to be completed by next month and brought online in December. Jim Tjaden also lives in the area and says keeping the old water tower beside the new one would be a visual deterrent to the community, an area he says is very attractive, for now. “Having two water towers of completely different design sitting side-by-side would detract from the image you have successfully created,” he says.
The man who wants to build the house in the water tower, Stecker, told council members that he wants to live in the space, not rent it out, and he said he respected the people of the Four Winds area and wants to be a good neighbor. Stecker vowed that if he ran across one of his neighbors, despite the outcome of the vote, he will still pull over and help one of them change their flat tire if he sees them along the roadside.
The council, on a 3-1 vote, approved hiring the Mason City engineering firm Veenstra & Kimm to facilitate demolition of the water tower. Councilman Jim Boehnke cast the lone “no” vote, saying the council should get a better opinion from the community, like it did when it took down another water tower in the downtown.
A survey at that time found 78-percent of respondents saying the tower should be dismantled. The old tower’s replacement is part of the city’s plan that has included the demolition and removal of all three of the city’s multi-legged water towers and replacing them with two, one-million gallon towers.
(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)