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Esplanade water tower slated to come down

Cal Water says there's no demo permit yet, but the tower in the Avenues will come down this Summer.

Posted: Jun 4, 2019 3:33 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2019 6:01 PM

CHICO, Calif. - "When I moved here I met a lot of the neighbors who lived here since they were kids… We know a lot of the history, they all talk about it, and as those people pass away, we lose that history and losing the tower? Is another part of losing it," said Hobie Jensen.

Jensen and his wife fell in love with Chico's heritage.

They chose their home off the famous Esplanade, nestled below the historic water tower.

But that's about to change.

Cal Water says in the next couple of months this water tower is coming down and a cell phone tower will be going up.

"It bums me out. I know there are other water towers but this is the one I associate with," Jensen said.

The utility says they don't use their four towers in the city of Chico except to hold cell-phone equipment.

Plus, they're not seismically sound.

"We don't want anyone to get hurt, I don't know if there's a way to fix what's there and I know they gave budgets, but I'm not concerned about it personally," Jensen said.

Cal Water announced a plan to demo all four towers in 2016.

There was so much public outcry that the utility worked to preserve the two oldest ones downtown.

But that doesn't help the Jensen’s.

"The Avenues are a sought after neighborhood, and there's old homes and that small town charm and I think the water tower - the original, not a replica - is what helps keep the area charming," said Hobie's wife, Stephanie.

She's referring to a plan in the works to build the new cellphone tower - to look like a water tower. It's a gesture of compromise.

"I've seen the proposal that's at the planning department, and yes, nice try, it's a good sentiment but ultimately it's never going to replace it," Jensen said.

Cal Water hasn't put in a demo permit yet, but they say the tower will come down this summer, and the process will take several months.

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