As anyone who’s done home improvement work can tell you, once you start construction something you weren’t expecting will always reveal itself — and it’s usually a big pain in the neck.
So, it’s really no surprise that when the village of Riverside decided to spend a little more than $1 million to restore its historic water tower and other buildings in Centennial Park, that something unexpected might result.
While the initial restoration work appeared to go pretty smoothly back in 2005, it didn’t take long to notice that the high-tech mineral coating that the village imported from Germany to cover the upper brick portion of the tower wasn’t adhering properly.
The village has gone up to do touch-ups on the tower in the intervening years, but it’s clear that this is a real problem. Especially when you consider the news that, according to the village public works director, that the paint is actually coming off the tower attached to the face of the bricks, it becomes a real maintenance concern.
While the village is poised to spend up to $75,000 to do another round of touch-ups using that mineral-based coating this summer, we’d encourage the village to start looking at what a more comprehensive solution to the problem might look like.
It may very well turn out that such a comprehensive solution is too expensive or complicated to accomplish without some sort of major grant funding, but it’d be nice to know whether this is something that can be solved or whether Riverside is simply going to have to look forward to shoveling money at a solution that we already know is very temporary.
Perhaps the village’s partner in a conservation easement agreement inked after the tower restoration project received a federal grant, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, can pitch in to help Riverside maintain what really is the most visible landmark in the downtown business district.
The water tower is inching closer to its 150th birthday in 2022. Figuring out a solid way to maintain the exterior of the old structure would be a swell anniversary present.