WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published October 07, 2009, 11:38 AM

Smiley Water Tower Taken Down

After being delayed more than a week, the Smiley water tower finally starting coming down early this morning.

By: Steve Bodakowski, WDAZ

Its been what some call a symbol of Grand Forks for 78 years, but today, it's lights out for Smiley. Strong winds last week delayed Smiley's demise,but today a demolition crew scaled the tower, propane torches in hand to cut the hundreds of supports and rivets that held Smiley together for so many years. And a small group of nostalgic on lookers watched the razing.

Craig Kelenze: "I'm sad to see it come down its something I think we should have kept as a community it's a symbol of the old north and south end."

Believe it or not it will take a crew of only 8 people to take smiley apart piece by piece. They'll start from the top and work to the bottom.

Scott Iseler: "We are taking the roof off as one piece, the side wall because it's a solid tank. We'll take down the barrel and cylinder in 6 equal pieces, from there we'll go into the legs."

They will be taken apart in 16 pieces. Once the entire tower is lowered the ground it will be cut into 6 foot pieces to be hauled out. The demo team says they don't anticipate anything slowing them down.

Scott Iseler: "Anything from wind to protesters which we haven't had had here luckily, but wind and lightening are the big problems.

The city says the demolition came down to a financial decision. And while some city officials said they too hate to see it go, there really wasn't any other option.

Kevin Dean: "It hasn't had water in it since 2000. They were either going to spend 400-thousand to refurbish it and end up with a tower with no water in it or spend 60-thousand to take it down."

The city will sell the pieces of the tower as scrap metal