OPINION: Why the Hose Tower Matters
OPINION: Why the Hose Tower Matters
The Hose Tower is more than just an old building,
it reflects the community values the Village was founded upon.
Let me get it out right up front. I am long-time member of the Greendale Historical Society’s board of directors. However, I am not writing this on behalf of the Society. It is simply what I believe. So, let’s get to it.
On Thursday, at an event for major donors to the Hose Tower project, I had the opportunity to see first-hand the (finally) completed renovations at the historic building. It was a significant, cross-generational, community event.
The moment I walked through the doors, it felt like a big step forward for the Village. I encourage you to tour the completed renovations on Sunday, October 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. and then decide for yourself. There will be a brief ceremony at 2 p.m. Hey, its a Packer bye week.
As noted preservationist, Donovan Rypkema once said, “Buildings can have meanings. Important buildings are symbols. Buildings can reflect values.”
The Hose Tower is more than just an old building. The renovated Hose Tower clearly reflects the community values the Village was founded upon.
Catalyst is another great word for describing the role of historic preservation. I, along with many, believe the Hose Tower could serve as a important catalyst for a re-energized downtown. Experts agree that historic preservation is a vital tool for economic development and it is a cost-effective “green” approach.
Of course, I am biased. I played a small role in the project as a board member of the society. The real heavy-lifters over the past couple of years were society board members Ted Mainella and Bob Prindiville along with Village Manager Todd Michaels and Village President Jim Birmingham.
Former Historical Society Board members Bill Kewan and Lyle Dorow also played important planning roles as have all past and present society board members, including Sally Chadwick. Our Department of Public Works and Robbie McFaul have been a big help. Village Inspector Scott Satula lent his expertise and even rescued photographs that now hang on the walls of the building. The project couldn’t have been completed without the commitment to the vision by the Village trustees and the investment of Layton State Bank — not to mention the generous donations of families, individuals, community organizations, businesses, volunteers and in-kind contributions.
There are literally too many people to thank. Think hundreds. As Ted Mainella eloquently said this week, the reinvention of the Hose Tower was a hand-made community project with real people touching every aspect of the renovation — down to screwing in the lightbulbs and laying the carpet.
Only school board insider and GreendaleNOW troll Jason Patzfahl went out of his way to publicly bash the project days before the community grand opening when he posted to the Historical Society’s Facebook page on October 20 stating, “$700,000+ of tax payer $ and donations so the Historical Society can coffee clutch and spread rumors in style.”
Patzfahl’s post has since been deleted. Perhaps, for fact-checking.
Finally, I agree with those who say people want a sense of living and working in someplace, not just anyplace. I second the idea that most people are not interested in living in a town that is “a sad hodgepodge of cookie-cutter housing tracts, cluttered commercial strips and bleak or non-existent downtowns.” I believe that Greendale must preserve its historic center … in order to save its soul.
This week, the supporters of the Hose Tower project presented the residents and families of Greendale an incredible gift by transforming a neglected municipal building into a new community gathering place. It is now up to the community and Village leaders to decide how they want to use it. I am in the camp that says the Hose Tower will touch thousands of people for generations to come.
P.S. Here is a blind item … rumors are swirling that a big, red, 10,000 pound piece of Greendale’s original history is rolling back to the Village at this very moment. Stay tuned.