Farewell, Latham checkerboard water towers

Pair of Latham checkerboard towers.

They have a checkered past. And present. But no future.

By Akum Norder

Update: Colonie says the dismantling has been postponed until there's warmer weather. [Troy Record]
____

If you're driving through Latham this week, tip your cap to the checkerboard towers.

Demolition of Latham's landmark water towers is scheduled to start today.

The FAA has said the towers have to be removed because they're on the flight path of a runway at the Albany International Airport.

In a way, we have the airport to thank for the towers' distinctive paint job: it was intended to make them more visible to pilots. They're even checkerboard on top:

But a runway extension, completed in 2003, prompted the FAA to declare the tanks an obstruction.

"Now, we have to make a nonstandard approach to the center line of the runway. If the water towers were to be relocated, it would allow us to use a standard approach," FAA spokesman Jim Peters told the Times Union in 2000. "Another reason we are doing this is the airport's runway, at some point, will be extended for use by heavier jets. The heavier jets cannot use the runway now because of its length." [TU]

Residents voiced concerns over the years that with the towers gone, planes would fly in lower over nearby homes. An airport spokesman said in 2001 that wouldn't be a concern, because the touchdown point for planes on that runway would not change. [TU]

The big tank was built in 1964; two smaller tanks, 1932. With a combined capacity of over 3 million gallons, they supplied water to more than 75,000 people.

The water has already been drained. Workers will be taking the tanks apart section by section. [CBS6]

Latham won't look the same without them.

Comments

Well great. Now how in the heck am I supposed to know if I’m in Latham? Or Clifton Park? Or Peachtree City? Or Fairview? Or Agrestic?

Back in the day when I was a SUNY Plattsburgh student from Westchester, those towers were more than a landmark. If you were headed north on the Northway, seeing those towers signaled you better stop to pee, eat and get gas (mandatory for my Olds Delta 88). You were about to leave civilization. If you were headed south, it marked your return to civilization and the halfway point to home and hearth. Despite their ugliness, they still evoked feelings some 35 years later.

I still believe it's the only good piece of art in this whole area. Well, besides the bicyclist on the side of the building on Henry Johnson and Western Ave.

By the way, from the CBS6 article: "The entire project is costing 11.1 million dollars but 5.9 million of that is paid for through stimulus dollars." I can think of about 5.9 million other things that stimulus money could have been spent on. And what about the rest? Is Colonie or Albany County spending it?

I could be wrong, but I think the airport is paying for the rest of the removal. Before the runway was extended, the airport would have done an avigation easement assessment of all the properties, structures and vegetation that would be affected by the new approach path, and decidewhat would need to be purchased and/or removed. The costs associated with that would have gone into the decision to extend the runway.

I would never have guessed that it would cost 11.1 million to remove those towers.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of winter

Beige on gray sway along the Indian Pond on the UAlbany campus. There was a rumor that it was something like 70 degrees at some... (more)

Chris Gibson at Bethlehem Public Library

Former Congressman Chris Gibson will be at the Bethlehem Public Library March 3 to talk about his book Rally Point. The talk is free and... (more)

Kirsten Gillibrand on Desus and Mero and The Late Show

More evidence that Kirsten Gillibrand is becoming a national figure: KG appeared on both the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Viceland's Desus &... (more)

NY Maple Weekend 2018

March is almost here, and that means maple syrup in New York. Maple farms around the state area again participating in two "Maple Weekends" this... (more)

Morning Blend

Guns + The governors of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island say their states are forming a coalition -- States for Gun Safety... (more)

Recent Comments

Definitely needs a mural. Another spot that is begging for one is the Delaware Ave Price Chopper in Albany. The side along Elm St is a huge gray wall that takes up most of the block!

Good places for a large company picnic?

...has 9 comments, most recently from frank

Kirsten Gillibrand on Desus and Mero and The Late Show

...has 1 comment, most recently from Bullwinkle

Dylan Ratigan has jumped into the pool of challengers to Elise Stefanik

...has 6 comments, most recently from ace

Flooding begins to recede along Mohawk, missed fax might have prevented Jay Street fire, Capital Region private college applications rising

...has 1 comment, most recently from Lauren

The Glynn Mansion and the story of Martin Glynn

...has 1 comment, most recently from BS