By KEN CARPENTER
Great Bend Post
Money is being raised this year to bring the Christmas lights back to the water tower in Larned. A fundraising campaign kicked off this Spring to raise at least $95,000 to restore the lights that appear as a royal crown on top of the tower.
Larned Mayor William Nusser doesn't know exactly when the first lights were placed on the water tower, but he knows it's been a while.
"I talked to a couple of people who are in their mid-80s to 90s," Nusser recounted. "When they were growing up they remember the lights being lit so I tell people that there's no one, I guess, alive that doesn't remember those water tower lights being lit."
A number of years ago, the lights had to come down. The Mayor said that was necessary for safety reasons.
"There was a ladder that went on top of the water tower and it rotated around this rail," Nusser said. "A guy would push the ladder and one guy would screw in the bulbs. But when they went to paint the water tower, the guy was up there and said 'Hey, this ladder is no longer OSHA approved.'"
OSHA is the federal agency that sets requirements for worker safety.
Falk Architects in Topeka submitted the winning bid to put the lights back up. Maintaining the new lighting will now meet OSHA regulations.
The Larned City Council will consider the project at its July 6th meeting. Mayor Nusser says he hopes the money raised by then will show the Council how much the public supports the idea of restoring the lights.