Demolition permit issued for Magnet Mill tower

Citizen says people ‘troubled’ by direction city taking toward landmark

“I am very disturbed by what I hear is happening to the Magnet Mills water tower.” said Mellissa Snead of Clinton’s Historic Zoning Commission. She was speaking in front of the Clinton City Council at the City Council Meeting, Tuesday, March 27.

A demolition permit was issued in February before an engineering assessment for its future viability had been completed.

“I have received many emails, phone calls; people come up to me at the store. They are troubled by this news. I am coming here to ask you tonight to pull that permit until we have a public hearing and let the citizens of Clinton decide what they want to do with the tower.” said Snead.

The Mill opened its doors in 1906 and by 1930 it employed more than 1000 people. Carl Kincaid operated at a loss during the Great Depression, just to keep people employed.

Snead stated that the Magnet Mills tower is one of the oldest, original water towers in Tennessee, and possibly even the south. She also stated that there are water towers on the National Register of Historic Places that are younger than the Magnet Mills tower.

“We need to start thinking of it as a resource, not a liability.” Said Snead. “My research indicates that it’s not much of a liability after all. And that restoring and maintaining the tower won’t be that expensive.

The issue, though, is that it is private property. One of the Councilmen stated that it would be like coming over to Snead’s house and telling her what to do with her property.

The Councilmen also stated that there are potential legal ramifications to pulling a permit.

Councilman Zach Farrar said, “I don’t know what right the city has to tell a private property owner who has legally pulled a permit that we don’t like what they are doing.”

Snead made the council aware of a potential buyer of the water tower. It is someone that also agrees that the tower should remain in Clinton. According to Snead, that buyer was going to scrap the legs and place the water tower on his farm.

Farrar also stated that Snead wasn’t alone on her feelings for the water tower and reiterated that they were dealing with legal restrictions.

Nothing was voted on in the meeting but future developments in this story are expected.