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Water tower fans raise $1,700 at event
• Celebrity Waiter Night at Alfonso's held July 31
Ceres water tower
The Ceres water tower sorely needed attention, a group of Ceres residents say, and they are trying to raise money so the city will spruce it up. It was built in 1934 and served Ceres’ water pressure needs until it became obsolete. - photo by Jeff Benziger

The group of citizens attempting to raise enough money for the preservation of the Ceres water tower collected between $1,600 and $1,800 in donated tips during the July 31 Celebrity Waiter Night.

Brandy Meyer, who is spearheading the effort with Lee and Shelia Brandt, made the announcement at the Aug. 13 City Council meeting.

A large collection of personalities well known in the Ceres community volunteered to wait tables and serve customers of Alfonso’s Mexican Restaurant to earn and donate their tips to the effort to preserve the Ceres water tower.

The city owns the tower – which is no longer in use – but says it doesn’t have the money to have it stripped of rust and paint to be repainted. The city believes the job will cost around $400,000 to $500,000. Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra pledged that the city will restore the tower if the group successfully raises enough money. So far the effort is falling dramatically short.

The effort to raise money for the tower is a year old and has only generated about $6,700, said Meyer.

“We haven’t really raised a lot of money this past year because our focus has been on the Centennial."
Brandy Meyer

“We haven’t really raised a lot of money this past year because our focus has been on the Centennial,” said Meyer. “That’s kind of taken a lot of time and a lot of our energy but as soon as the Centennial is over we’re going to give you an update. Next year we really want to focus on the water tower.”

The year has been more of a publicity effort.

The group also is selling T-shirts printed with the water tower logo. They are available for purchase at the Ceres Chamber of Commerce office and at Meyer’s business, Meyer CPR & First Aid, located in the same building at 2904 Fourth Street (directly opposite Wells Fargo Bank).

City Manager Toby Wells said there are no plans to raze the tower but time will eventually weaken it. The irony is that the cost of dismantling the tower – $20,000 – is how much the city spent to erect it in 1934.

The group remains hopeful that the tower can be placed on a register of historic places. Clinching such protective status could be difficult given that water towers aren’t normally included.