(Photo by Dan Whitney)
Citizens of the town of Larrabee have been enjoying the benefits of a "new and improved" water tower since July, thanks to the construction of a new water tower, built on the site of the old one.
The new tower has a 30,000 gallon capacity, in contrast to the previous tower, which had serviced the town's residents since 1935, according to Mayor Judy Wagner. That tower had a capacity of only 18,000 gallons. This fact, in addition to several OSHA violations and inadequate water pressure, prompted the town to apply for a federal Community Development Grant. The town was denied on their first application, but perservered, and were approved for the $149,000 block grant, which helped immensely with the approximate $350,000 cost for the water tower project.
The firm of Kuehl and Payer of Storm Lake was contracted to engineer the project, and the General Contractors were the Pittsburg Tank and Tower Company, Inc. from Sebree, Kentucky.
Mayor Wagner stated that the timing for the project was fortunate, as the old tower developed a problem just before the new tower was constructed which would have resulted in having to replace a pipe, at a cost of $20,000. The way things go, there may have been several thousand dollars to follow.
However, the new tower was erected, and opened for business in July 2005. One nice touch was the painting of the school colors (red and white) of the now-defunct Larrabee school on the tower. The old tower also had a red "roof."
The new tower is much more "high tech" than the previous one, of course. Diane Cargin, the city clerk, states that the new tower has controls on it which are directly tied to the computers of Cherokee Rural Water, which is the water provider for Larrabee.
What happened to the old water tower, which served the community for so many years, you ask?
According to Mayor Wagner, the old tower was sold for scrap iron to "some folks in Nebraska somewhere."
Well, I guess that's appropriate - you know, "Big Red" and all...