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Water Tower Committee Suggested by Historic Manassas

Tower eyed for demolition. Letter submitted to City Council from the Historic Manassas Board of Directors.

A letter submitted to the Manassas Mayor and City Council on March 21, 2014, by the Historic Manassas Board of Directors.
A letter submitted to the Manassas Mayor and City Council on March 21, 2014, by the Historic Manassas Board of Directors.
The following is a letter submitted to the Manassas Mayor and City Council on March 21, 2014, by the Historic Manassas Board of Directors. More information on the proposed removal of the water tower.


Our Historic Downtown District has many significant landmarks and historic buildings. One in particular, which has been the focus of much discussion lately, is the 100 year old Manassas Water Tower located on Quarry Street. We are aware of a request for demolition by the City of Manassas Water and Sewer Department. We are also aware of a core group of citizens trying to save it from demolition.

Preservation of significant landmarks and historic buildings takes on renewed urgency in times of social change, so the idea and practice of historic preservation has never been more important. Every society, in its own way, interprets and cares for its inherited environments differently. How conflicts and stewardship are sorted out – how the material past is preserved – is a core issue pertinent to all citizens. 

Historic Preservation is complex, with long-term challenges of understanding, designing, imagining and managing built environments. The conservation of historic buildings and structures is a core competency for preservation: the interpretation and custodial care of rare structures retains a greater social relevance and the preservation of complex, large scale landscapes tests our ability to plan and 
collaborate our built community.

In the case of the water tower, a contributing structure in the historic downtown area, there is a need and duty to give close scrutiny as to which course of action should be taken. To that end, we would suggest the formation of a committee consisting of interested parties from the citizenry and representation from the government. The goal would be to investigate any and all possible scenarios for the future of the water tower. Each option considered would include an action plan detailing how it would be achieved. We suggest the committee have a 6 month deadline to bring their findings - as well as a recommendation for action – back to City Council. 

It is the position of Historic Manassas, Inc., as a Virginia Main Street Organization, that historically significant landmarks should be preserved if it is feasible to do so. The bottom line is historic structures are irreplaceable community assets. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. So we must ask ourselves - has every other possible or potential option been explored? 

Respectfully submitted by,
Board of Directors
Historic Manassas, Inc.
Mark Olsen, President
Christine Finnie, Vice President
Charles Patullo, Treasurer 
Nora Jewell, Secretary 
Sheryl Bass, Member
Charles Gilliam, Member 
John Jewell, Member 
John Johnson, Member
Gary Jones, Member
Donald Kline, Member
Kari Leporatti, Member
Chuck Rector, Member
Thomas Water, Member
Debbie Haight, Executive Director

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