75-year-old Cato water tower will be replaced, not repaired

The water tower in Cato

Towering 120 feet over the small village of Cato, in Cayuga County, stands a local landmark. The light blue water tower has been there for 75 years, but next week it will be torn down.

"I think its going to be a little different," said Shannon Abate, who has lived in Cato her whole life. "It's a landmark for a lot of folks especially with Cato right on top of it."

"The town is going to be naked. It's always been here," said Pennie Youells. "I went to school here and on the bus when you see the water tower you knew you were almost there and get your stuff together"

To keep the decades-old water tower, it would need a lot of work including removing the lead paint, a new roof and a new ladder. Those upgrades would cost about $1.1 million.

Village officials says it makes financial sense to just replace the tower with a new one which will cost $1.28 million. The hundreds of water users in the village will foot the bill, which adds up to about $120 a year for the next 38 years.

"It has to be done, this one maintenance wise is much better," said Village Mayor Carl Lincoln. "A lot of people have been concerned with us taking it down. But with us putting another one in that same area I think we'll be alright."

While the work is being done, fire crews will have to pull water from other towns and area ponds if they have to fight a fire because the hydrants won't work. A small stretch of road from Mechanic Street to 370 will also be blocked off for the duration of the project while crews work.

Village officials say residents won't see a difference in water in their homes.

The new water tower will be dark blue on top and will still say Cato on both sides. It will sit on 82 feet of concrete. It will also be bigger, holding 25,000 extra gallons of water, so the village is ready if there is growth in the future.

The water tower will be torn down on June 1st. The new tower should be installed by October 1st.