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Council Meeting Reveals Troubling Dilemma for Hall of Waters

Monday’s City Council meeting was short and not very sweet. In fact, the meeting brought some bitter news that the beloved Hall of Waters is in a state of serious decay and portions of the Hall and the grounds will be closed until repairs can be made. Citizens of Excelsior Springs had an opportunity in 2018 to fully fund the staged rehabilitation of the historic Hall of Waters. The community rejected the Museum Tax Levy, which would have amounted to a 0.3% increase in property taxes. Now, the Hall faces an uncertain future. City leaders have been working to try to find alternate sources of funding and in 2019 The City of Excelsior Springs was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Save America’s Treasurers grant program, for the restoration of the Hall of Waters, which is only a fraction of the more than $13 million needed to return the Hall to its former glory.

Here is what City Manager Molly McGovern, reported to the council:

We had a conversation with our architects that are doing the work for the Hall of Waters and as you remember we received a $500,000 grant to do a scope of work in the building but based on some of the accelerated deterioration of the building I think we’re going to need to change some of the attention that we were planning. So, I included the structural engineer’s report and some of the areas that we’re concerned about the need to be limited from humans. So, one is the front yard and that’s not new, we’ve always known that there were structural concerns in the front yard, and we’ve allowed it very sparingly. But, I think they feel it’s concerning enough they want no humans in the front yard.

They have a concern with the railings, and these are concrete railings on the area on the north side of the building, west side of the building, and east side of the building. We want to make sure no one leans up against them, or maybe skateboards on them. But, we’ll be blocking the railings in those areas from humans.

Another area of concern is, and this was a part of the scope of our work, there is a structural concern on the west side of the water bar. Underneath you can see the area is a concrete area with spalling concrete well, that area has expanded from one bay to three bays and they feel like it’s concerning enough they would like there to be no one in the mezzanine or pool area. Honestly, they are not sure why it still is attached.

There are pictures in the report that’s provided to you so you can see that the other area of concern is new to us which was not included in our scope but it is the most concerning and, that is in the basement, on the west side of the pool walls. The structural columns are concrete which is not holding to the iron in those areas. They said that it was in the 30s, sometimes they did it and sometimes they didn’t, they included what are called “stirrups” to hold the concrete or the iron together to make it strong, this has no stirrups and so what is holding the iron together is the concrete columns themselves. You’ll see in the pictures how much deterioration has occurred to those concrete columns and those columns bear the weight of the west side of that wing to the roof so we feel like we need to limit human traffic in that wing.

We will also be calling our grant agency to redirect the scope of work to make the basement our first priority and make the water bar our second priority. And, now the work on the water bar probably will have to be done above as opposed to a scaffolding below and we’ll probably need to dismantle the water bar. So, you’ll see in the pictures some of those little doors pulling away from the water bar and you can see there’s a bow in the floor as well as the bar itself. So, anyway, those will be the direction we will be moving and I’m not sure you know obviously we don’t know how far our dollars will go in trying to address those two areas first is the basement second is the water bar and then there are there is concern around the tower. In that one the boiler vents in the tower, but not appropriately. So, they need to change the way it vents in the tower. The tower also has a need for more structural support so it can have better wind load protection.

3 thoughts on “Council Meeting Reveals Troubling Dilemma for Hall of Waters”

  1. 2 years ago my neighbor had 15 million she was able to get her friends to donate to her in order to rehab the building. She wanted to turn it back into a spa. To include redrilling the wells. She walk away from the situation because the city refused to give up ownership of the building. Resulting to allow the building to crumble.

  2. Diane Montague

    Maybe rewrite the legislation that failed prior , and put it out for the citizens vote, again.

Comments are closed.

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