Tower repair request goes before City Council

Concerned about pieces of mortar or stones falling down to the sidewalk more than 100 feet below, Williamsport Scottish Rite officials will ask City Council tonight to grant a demolition permit to repair portions of the top of the tall tower made of red sandstone towering at 22 E. Fourth St.

“Over the years we’ve looked at it,” said Charles Ricketts, fraternal manager of the Scottish Rite organization. “Nothing is real loose but the engineers decided for safety reasons it should be done.”

The permit asks the city for permission to remove parapet wall stones. The stones will be numbered and stored with the hope they will eventually be reset, according to Ricketts.

Ricketts said a cap will be placed on the top once the work is finished.

“It should be worked on,” said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator. The structurally questionable area has been braced up so that nothing falls down by order of city Bureau of Fire Chief C. Dean Heinbach, Gerardi said.

In other issues, council’s looking at the administration’s request for a $25,000 matching grant available from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The money will be used toward a redevelopment study of areas east of Market Street within the Central Business District.

Another state grant application of $15,000 for a local government grant also will be requested.

The grant is to pay for the city’s part regarding the county’s update of historic resources within its comprehensive plan, according to John Grado, city engineer and director of community and economic development.