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Time to restore clock tower

Andy Ouriel • May 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM

It’s time to resurrect a centerpiece feature in Willard’s community.

Local officials, business leaders and community stakeholders recently launched a fundraising campaign to restore portions of a century-old clock tower once situated at the former Willard City Hall.

The project’s broken down into two major segments:

•Construct a new brick tower, roughly 50 feet in height, at the clock tower’s former site on Myrtle and Woodland avenues.

•Place the original clock — including the face, tower cap and some other main components — atop the tower.    “The tower would be a focal point for our historic downtown and would put the vacant lot to good use versus just being green space,” Willard city manager Brian Humphress said. “It would also be a point of pride for our residents as well as a remembrance of days gone by”

Donald Graham, Willard’s economic development president who’s also spearheading the fundraising campaign, said they’ll need anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 to reintroduce the clock tower.

The funds raised thus far total about $32,000. No local taxpayer dollars are going toward this project.

Optimistically, Graham believes a groundbreaking ceremony could occur by this fall. The project from start to finish could take up to three months. It’s not known when the project would start.

“Our objective is to raise money as aggressively and as quickly as we can,” Graham said.

A new clock tower would piggyback off many other recent developments in Willard, including significant improvements to a new school building, hospital and state grant money secured for a train-viewing platform.

“We are really working hard to do things to improve the quality of life in our community” Graham said.

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