Demolition of water tower with Decatur logo begins this week
DeKalb County this week will begin removing a water tower by the East Lake MARTA station on West Howard Avenue that bears the city of Decatur logo.
It marks the gateway into the city limits. But after standing for more than 80 years, the water tower has outlived its usefulness.
Demolition began on Monday, Oct. 14.
“The 500,000-gallon tower was erected in the 1930s and has sat dormant for 15 years,” the county says. “The county is demolishing the outdated tank which has become an eyesore due to rust on the exterior of the tower. The cost to demolish the tank is approximately $164,500.”
The demolition will result in periodic single westbound lane closures on Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The project should be finished by November, weather permitting.
“Traffic will be closed at the construction site and roadway safety signs will be posted advising motorists about construction work and local traffic restrictions,” the county says. “Motorists are advised to obey all traffic and safety personnel and signage. Additionally, motorists should plan for possible congestion and traffic delays near the work site.”
The City Commission wasn’t interested in preserving the iconic tower, citing the cost of upkeep.
It was erected around 1935, one of many New Deal-era projects. Scott Candler was the chair of the City Commission at the time, and there’s a plaque at the base of the tower noting the time of its construction.
Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon, who has worked for Decatur since 1977, previouisly said the city of Decatur owned the water and sewer system when the tower was built. The county bought the tower in the 1970s, he said.
“It was a water storage tank,” Saxon said. “Those things are primarily used to provide pressure for fire fighting purposes so that there would be pressure in the municipal water mains to push water out during a fire emergency.”
Saxon said the county painted the Decatur logo on the tower in the 1990s before the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Former mayor Bill Floyd previously said, “We asked them to put that emblem on there — the Decatur emblem — when they were repainting it.”
Floyd said he doesn’t have any sentimental attachment to the tower but hopes the space can be used to mark the entrance into the city.
“I’m not particularly sad to see it go, but I’d like for something to be done there, even a pocket park, that would allow us to put up some signage and let people know they’re coming into Decatur,” Floyd said. “It’s never been real attractive.”