Mayor Linda Bates contacted the Fire Department to advise her on changes that needed to be made to Town Hall to bring it up to code.
Some of the changes they must make are a fire escape from the second floor, emergency lighting, and the front entrance access had to be widened and smoothed in order to be wheelchair accessible. Numerous problems such as enlarging an interior doorway, a new electric box and a long list of other problems needed to be taken care of. When Mayor Bates got an estimate for the changes she also wanted the sidewalk repaired as it was very uneven. The initial cost was $18,500, so she went to the County Commission to seek help with the finances.
At the meeting Bill Dilly came up to Mayor Bates and asked her if she was aware there was a large water tank under the pavement right in front of Town Hall. Dilly told her he was surprised it had not caved in! Needless to say, Bates was horrified such a hazard was literally at the front door of Town Hall and until then no one was aware of it. Right away an investigation was started and an approximate 2×2 square of concrete was discovered to be the access to the water tank.
The water tank was built during the 1950’s to store water for firefighting and some of the local teenage boys actually helped dig it. They weren’t paid for their labor but just helped out to have something to do. One of the teenagers who helped dig the tank was Richard Parsons, who now lives just down the street in the house where he was born. Parsons has worked away from Tucker County all of his adult life, but when he retired he settled back into his home in Hambleton. He said he figured his age at the time he helped dig the water tank was around 14 and the other boys that helped were around 16. Unfortunately he was unable to remember the names of the other boys. Parsons said he was raised on water right out of the mountain, but the stream did not have enough water to be helpful in putting out a building fire. At that time there was no way to draw water from the river for that purpose either.
The concrete in front of Town Hall had to be busted up in order to know the size of the water tank so it could be filled with gravel and then sealed. The water tank was full of water that had to be drained and was about eight feet deep, seven and a half feet wide and 18 feet long. The water tank problem took the estimate of repairs from $18,500 to $20,000. Mike Wamsley is the contractor who busted through the concrete lid to the water tank, filled the tank with crusher run gravel and then repaved the whole area.
Submitted By Pamela Ruediger