Columbia bell tower to be dismantled

After tolling the time for decades, Columbia's iconic lakefront bell tower will soon be taken down due to safety concerns, according to an announcement from the Columbia Association.

The bell tower is now roped off at the end of a wooden dock at Lake Kittamaqundi, and will be dismantled sometime in late May or early June, according to CA officials. It will be rebuilt once the planned redevelopment of the area gets underway in several years.

Discussion of tower removal has been underway for four years, but a recent examination by Century Engineering showed what were called "major deficiencies" in the structure, though it is not thought to pose any imminent danger. The four flag poles that sat around the bell were removed immediately after completion of the engineering report.

CA spent $37,000 to reinforce the tower after earlier surveys, extending the tower's life.

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