Photo by Pam Headridge
                                Workers remove the paddles on the windmill in Oak Harbor’s Windjammer Park in October.

Photo by Pam Headridge Workers remove the paddles on the windmill in Oak Harbor’s Windjammer Park in October.

Attempt to save windmill goes nowhere

An Oak Harbor councilman’s attempt to save the Windjammer Park windmill from being razed fell on deaf ears last week.

Earlier this year, the council passed a resolution that gave city staff the authority to take down the windmill and find a place to rebuild it.

The council members said they are concerned about safety because the structure is deteriorating.

The paddles of the windmill were removed earlier this month.

During the Nov. 21 meeting, Councilman Rick Almberg made a motion to indefinitely delay the destruction of the windmill, have staff do a cost analysis of two options and have staff contact service organizations about possibly funding the repairs.

Almberg argued that fixing the windmill was a lot less expensive than demolishing and rebuilding it elsewhere.

Almberg’s motion died for lack of a second.

Oak Harbor Mayor Bob Severns said afterward that he wished Almberg’s motion was seconded so that a discussion could continue. Still, he said, the council made it clear it prefers that the structure be taken down, though he said it will be salvaged as much as possible.

The windmill is located near the site of the future sewage treatment plant. A master plan for the park calls for it to be moved or rebuilt at a more high-profile site on Beeksma Drive.

The city has the original blueprint for the structure, which was built in the 1970s and used for storage and concessions.

Severns said he will insist on rebuilding the windmill.

“I think it needs to be done sooner than later,” he said. “If it’s two years from now, I could live with that.”

Almberg, who used to own a construction management firm, said he looked at the paddle-less windmill with a building official and the project engineer for the sewage treatment plant.

In an interview, Almberg said they saw some rot on the railing, but beyond that, the structure is in “pretty good condition.”

He said the engineer agreed with that assessment.

Almberg did a “napkin level estimate” and reported that removing and repairing the structure will cost $390,000. He estimated the cost of repairing it at $98,000.

At the meeting, Almberg pointed out that the council, including himself, made the original decision without looking at cost estimates.

“My oversight. My mistake,” he said. “It’s not typically something I do.”

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