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Tower to be checked for structural integrity
City officials hired a consultant Monday to evaluate the safety of the Ceres water tower, a landmark that has been on Ceres' landscape since the 1930s.

The City Council, acting as the Ceres Redevelopment Agency board of directors, approved a $29,880 contract with Cornerstone Structural Engineering Group to conduct the water tank structural evaluation.

The work will be funded by the Ceres Redevelopment Agency. Last year the city and a group of downtown business leaders suggested any effort to make downtown Ceres a thriving place should include sprucing up the water tower that stands sentinel over downtown. There was talk at the city level of using redevelopment funds for the water tower paint-over since the enhancement of downtown is one of the missions of the Ceres Redevelopment Agency.

The water tower, if safe, could be used as an icon for the downtown that can be used for marketing.

Mayor Anthony Cannella said that the tower is a "landmark and a lot of people see it as an icon and we just want to make sure it remains safe."

The tower and 50,000 gallon tank were erected in 1934 on Sixth Street just north of Lawrence. For decades it gave the small city the water pressure it needed. It was later abandoned when newer technology took over.

Brian Briggs, the city's Redevelopment and Economic Development Manager, said the city's desire is to spruce up the tank so "that we can look to say that we're proud of this, this is something from our past that we'd like to appreciate in the future."

The new paint job may incorporate service club logos in exchange for help in the project.

In October 2007 the Ceres City Council ordered a $350,000 development plan to help turn downtown Ceres into a destination spot. The Berkeley firm of Design, Community & Environment (DC&E) was hired to develop the 20-year vision as well as an implementation strategy to tap into the potential of downtown Ceres. Weighing in on the future of downtown were merchants and residents.