A preservation-minded group of Coral Gables residents has reached its $70,000 goal for the recently completed rehabilitation of the historic Alhambra Water Tower, thanks to a couple’s $13,000 donation that culminated a two-year fundraising campaign.
In honor of the accomplishment, the Coral Gables City Commission proclaimed May 22, 2012 as “Save the Alhambra Water Tower Day in Coral Gables” and presented a proclamation to members of the grassroots committee.
“The fun and exhaustion the committee members shared to see this worthy project through is now a part of our personal history and the history of the city of Coral Gables,” said Kendell Turner, who with fellow resident Roxcy Bolton formed the “Save the Alhambra Water Tower” group in 2010.
“We hope that the efforts of the hundreds of citizens – and the Alhambra Water Tower itself – will serve as a beacon for the importance of preserving all of the city’s historical monuments for future generations,” Ms. Turner said.
Rehabilitation of the tower – built in 1924 to resemble a lighthouse and conceal a water tank and equipment – cost approximately $300,000.
Sharing the cost was the Federal Emergency Management Agency ($185,000) because of damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. The city of Coral Gables allocated $45,000. The committee reached its $70,000 target with a $13,000 gift from residents Rod Hildebrant and Matthew Meehan, a board member of the Coral Gables Community Foundation.
“The main reason our community is such a fine place to live is because of our involved and caring residents. This Alhambra Water Tower initiative proves that point,” said Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk. “I appreciate the countless hours the committee members worked to preserve one of our community’s unique treasures.”
Mr. Kerdyk, who in the late 1990s created the public-private PARKnership initiative at the Coral Gables Community Foundation, directed a $20,000 donation to the committee to kick-start fundraising.
With 100% of the proceeds going to the cause, the citizens’ committee continued to raise money through such efforts as lectures, selling note cards depicting the tower, operating the Alhambra Water Tower Art Gallery, providing educational preservation information at the Coral Gables Farmers’ Market and seeking private donations.
Located at 2000 Alhambra Circle near the intersections of Greenway Court and Ferdinand Street, the tower has received lime-based paint on exterior walls. The doors, keyhole windows, decorative balustrade and its sundial and murals have been recreated.
Additional improvements included new interior stairs to replace the deteriorated wooden stairs, improvements to the tower’s electrical system and installation of a climate-controlled ventilation system.
Members of the “Save the Alhambra Water Tower” grassroots group include Ms. Turner, Ms. Bolton, Raul R. Rodriguez, Mike McEachen, Amy Kutell, Claudia Bardasano, Jane Maranos, Claire Frances Whitehurst, Carol Davy, Don Queralto, Bruce Fitzgerald, Julie Petrella Arch, Katherine Kahiler, Ana Collengette, Jorge Cabal and Bill Bonn, chairman of the Coral Gables Community Foundation.
“The Coral Gables Community Foundation is proud to administer funds such as the PARKnership Fund, which was the vehicle that helped facilitate this fundraising process,” Mr. Bonn said. “Any way we can assist people who want to do good in our community is an absolute pleasure.”
Although it reached its $70,000 goal, the committee continues to raise funds to provide benches in the park surrounding the landmark.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the group on Facebook: Alhambra Water Tower.