Riverside Public Works Director Michael Hullihan said last week that recent delays on the village’s restoration to the exterior of the historic downtown water tower will prevent that project’s completion until around Oct. 15. Originally, the projected completion date was the end of September.
Work was delayed three weeks, said Hullihan, after work crews reported that the mineral coating used to stain the bricks on the upper portion of the tower proved unstable. When the tower was rebuilt after a fire in 1913, red brick was simply applied above the cream-colored brick of the original 1870 edifice. The entire tower was then painted to mask the change.
As part of the restoration, the paint was removed and the plan had been to stain the red bricks with a product developed by the Edison Company to match bricks of the 1870 tower. But, Hullihan said, “the stuff … didn’t adhere to the brick and the color wasn’t stable.”
Instead, the village called on the Keim Mineral Systems, a century-old company which has provided mineral pigments for historic projects around the world, from the White House to German castles.
The mineral coating to be used on Riverside’s water tower had to be mixed in Augsburg, Germany and then shipped by boat to the United States, which has accounted for the delay in the restoration. Hullihan said he expected to have the materials from Keim within a week.
Since work began March 1, various contingencies have increased the cost of the water tower restoration project. The project was expected to cost $1.24 million, but unforeseen repairs have boosted costs above that mark by some $16,000.
Hullihan, however, has said that he expects the final cost to be within two or three percentage points of the originally budgeted amount.