At the meeting of the common council of the city of Darlington that was held on May 7, council members voted to tear down the old city pump house that is located on West River Street.
The decision was the result of a recommendation from the property and insurance committee, which recommended that the building be demolished and the well abandoned. A portion of the back wall of the building is to be left as a historical marker with a plaque of some type to commemorate the historical significance of the building and site. The cost for the demolition project will be taken out of the water department budget.
After demolition it is planned for some of the bricks from the building to be placed behind the city garage to be available for pickup by anyone interested in acquiring them.
The pump house was built in the 1880s in order to pump water to the water reservoir on Summit Avenue for the entire city. The property contains the original city well. For more history on the pump house see this week’s Sleepwalking on pg. 8.
Currently the building houses some salvage items, which would be sold for scrap in order to offset the cost of demolition.
At the meeting of the common council of the city of Darlington that was held on Tuesday, May 21 Alderperson Don Osterday again brought up the planned demolition of the pump house, saying that when he passes by the old building he regrets voting to tear it down.
“Maybe the decision we made was the right one,” he said, “but I just hope we don’t move too quickly.” Osterday brought up the historical significance of the building and said that many people he spoke to about the topic expressed concern with the proposed demolition.
However, several other members of the council pointed out that the building currently serves no purpose and is in need of repairs, the funding of which would not be cheap.
According to public works director, Jeremy Williams, the roof needs to be replaced as well as sections of the wall, which have been damaged and now allow various creatures access to the building.
In 2012, Brunkow Construction provided an estimated cost of approximately $25,000 to replace the roof and repair sections of the wall, according to Williams.
The council as a whole seemed to be of the same mind as Osterday as far as regretting the loss of such a historical building, but no one could supply another solution that would preserve the building properly as well as supply the necessary funding.
“I tried to save [the building] years ago,” said Alderperson Bev Anderson during the discussion. She indicated, however that nothing much ever came of the effort.