Half-million dollar question for Osseo: Is iconic water tower worth saving?


Is the idea of saving Osseo's water tower all wet? Or is the 99-year-old relic of the town's pre-suburban days worth rescuing at the cost of $500,000?

That dilemma, like the tower itself, looms over Osseo these days.

The cost to stabilize the rickety structure and remove its lead paint, among other repairs, is estimated at $500,000, the Star Tribune reports. City council member Allan Hartkopf – a 70-year resident of Osseo – tells the newspaper spending that much money would be a waste, particularly since demolition would cost just $80,000. 

Residents who feel differently have started a campaign to save the tower. Kathleen Gette has launched a Facebook page to rally support for the idea. Gette also helped Osseo obtain a grant of Legacy Amendment funding from the state to hire a consultant to evaluate the tower's prospects of gaining a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Gette tells the Star Tribune the consultant's report is due in February. The findings could help Osseo decide whether to nominate the tower for the Register.

According to a report from 12TV last year, Osseo now gets its water from Maple Grove. But the old silver tower with the pointy top is an icon that's carved a spot in logos and banners, as well as the hearts of some residents.

On the other hand, city officials told 12TV Osseo's municipal budget is about $2 million, making it likely the expense of saving the water tower would lead to service cuts or tax hikes.

Supporters of the tower say a listing on the Historic Register makes government-owned properties eligible for grants to help with preservation. Elk River, another old town northwest of the Twin Cities, successfully navigated the process of gaining a spot on the Register for its water tower in 2012.

Other Minnesota water towers from Kasson to Brainerd to Pipestone are also listed on the Historic Register.

Highway Highlights' list of "10 Great Minnesota Water Towers" includes ones that are shaped and decorated like a corn cob, a bobber, or a coffee pot.

On its Facebook page some of the fans of Osseo's water tower say they appreciate theirs partly because it's not a coffee pot or corn cob, but rather is a water tower. Dennis Gardner of the Minnesota Historical Society tells the Star Tribune the Osseo tower's style was once common but "there’s not many of these left. This has become a rare kind of water tower."

Next Up

Hennepin County Medical Center, HCMC

Man killed in early morning crash on Minneapolis' Cedar Avenue

Minneapolis police responded to the crash at 2600 Cedar Avenue South early Friday morning.


2 killed in separate incidents in Minneapolis hours apart Thursday

One man was killed in a triple shooting, the other fatally stabbed in an apparent domestic incident.

duluth police department

'Dangerous situation' in Duluth, public asked to stay away after suspect kills K9

It started on Thursday evening and has continued into Friday.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. / Gopher basketball

Gophers offense disappears in loss to Northwestern

The Gophers are quickly falling out of NCAA tournament contention.

Malik Beasley

Timberwolves Malik Beasley suspended 12 games for offseason incident

Beasley was sentenced to 120 days in jail earlier this month.

Russell Wilson

Vikings fans should REALLY hope Russell Wilson doesn't go to the Bears

Wilson has a 6-0 record against Minnesota and could be on his way to the NFC North.


Celebrated Minnesota musician Peter Ostroushko dies

Ostroushko, who learned his craft in the Ukrainian community of Northeast Minneapolis, had a versatile career including performances with popular artists and orchestras


Costco will bump its minimum wage to $16 next week

The company, which has 12 stores in Minnesota, is pushing ahead of retailers Target and Amazon with its new minimum wage

Seth Green/Gopher Football

Gophers wildcat QB Seth Green announces decision to transfer

Green will have immediate eligibility as a graduate transfer.

Minneapolis skyline

Minneapolis pays 3 times more than it receives in state funds, new report says

This report comes as state lawmakers are debating proposals opponents say would "bail out" the state's largest city.


Record-low interest rates save Minn. taxpayers millions of dollars

School districts, cities and counties in Minnesota are saving tens of millions of dollars in borrowing costs by refinancing old bonds, the Pioneer Press reports. The South Washington County School District is among the government organizations reaping the benefits of historically low interest rates. The district alone has saved more than $14 million since 2001.