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Village of Joy says goodbye to old water tower, hello to a new one

With a new water tower that brings better water pressure, the old tower in Joy, Illinois, has become obsolete. Crews spent Monday, Dec. 13 dismantling it.

JOY, Ill. — A new water tower in Joy, Illinois, means better water pressure for residents of the small village, but it also means the 100-year-old water tower is now obsolete. 

The old water tower, built in 1922, had just became too outdated, according to Mayor Mark Heater.

"It would cost too much to rejuvenate everything," he said.

Crews spent Monday dismantling the old tower piece-by-piece. The work wrapped up an eight-year project to not only construct a new water tower but also new water mains and a new filtration and water softening system.

Low water pressure has been an issue in the village for years.

"They had like 28-30 pounds of water pressure," he said. "Some places, you couldn't run a washing machine and take a shower. You'd have very little water coming out of your shower, but now, you can run both of them."

The water pressure is now close to double what it was before. Currently, it's at 53 psi and will be increased to 57 on Wednesday. 

"Everybody in town will have better water pressure in their shower, toilets, sinks, everything," Heater said.

Susan Whitmire has lived in Joy for the last 14 years. She's noticed the better water pressure since the new tower went online at the end of October. 

"It's an old tower, but it's much needed. We really did need a new tower and glad we got one," she said. "The pressure's nice, real nice."

Whitmire had a front row seat to the teardown from her bedroom window. 

"I've never seen one come down before," she said. 

She took lots of pictures and videos of the whole process.

"They took the flag off first, and that was the first piece, and I thought that was kinda cool," Whitmire said. "Then when I see the Joy taken off, 'oh there goes Joy!'"

"I am really happy that this thing's gonna be done," Heater said.

While the new tower comes with many benefits, both Whitmire and Heater are sad to see the old tower go.

"We're just glad to see it go because it is so old, but then again, it's sad to see it go," Whitmire said. "It's been there for a long time."

Heater is saving the top piece of the tower, a flag that was on it, a ladder, a siren and a plaque with the tower's 1922 year on it. He hopes to put together a memorial in front of the new tower. 

"It's really the last of the old town. It's just save as much as we can of the memory of the town," he said. "These little towns are basically dying, and whatever you can do to help them out is what you need to do."

The project cost over $4 million, Heater said. Joy was given a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for part of the cost and took out a loan for the rest. 

"A lot was grant money, thank God," Heater said. "We're gonna start paying next year $61,000-a-year for 37 years. That's a lot of money for this little town."

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