JUST HANGING AROUND — The head of the Westminster clock is transferred to the base by Springville Department of Public Works trucks. Photos by Lizz Schumer.
SPRINGVILLE — Something is ticking in the center of Springville, and it’s not the countdown to Christmas. The Community Clock is a project that has been almost 15 years in the making, but the clock is standing tall in M&T Bank Park at the corner of Main and Mechanic Streets, at last.
“We started talking about it in 1999, but it didn’t fly,” explained Joel Maul, co-director of the six-member committee that has been working to raise money for the project.
“Springville wasn’t in the mood to spend $25,000, at the time,” he added. “In 2003, the historical society went to [Concord Town Historian] Dave Batterson and said they wanted to start thinking about it again.”
IS IT ON STRAIGHT? — The new clock stands in M&T Bank Park, at the corner of Main and Mechanic streets in Springville.
Bob Rung, also a committee member, said that he made the first donation, $25, to get the clock project rolling.
“And then I bugged him and bugged him,” he said, with a laugh, nudging Batterson, co-director of the committee.
From there, the project began to start rolling. The first official donation came in July of this year and by Sept. 8, the entire amount had been raised. A total of 205 sponsors donated to the cause, including members of Springville-Griffith Institute alumni classes, who, Maul said, engaged in a bit of friendly competition, to raise the money.
“The class of 1958 took up a collection at their 55-year reunion and raised $500, all in one night,” he said. “Well, I’m the class of 1961, and we couldn’t let them beat us!” Donations continued to come in after the deadline, up until a few days ago, when Batterson received a call from a resident who wanted to support the cause.
“A lot of people who used to live here sent donations,” Rung explained.
STEADY ... STEADY — The clock stands at 18 feet, 9 inches tall, with a two-foot base. Committee Member Joel Maul watched the weather report, saying, “We can still do the installation, as long as we have less than two feet of snow!”
Supporters included residents, S-GI alumni and local businesses, who donated at a variety of sponsorship levels, delineated by the plaques that adorn the clock.
Those coffers went not only to the purchase and installation of the structure, but its maintenance, as well.
“We’ve got $5,000 to keep the clock running, and running well, for years to come,” Maul said.
One name was added at the last minute: Sargeant Brian Baker, who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004.
“We had a final deadline [for plaque inclusion] on Sept. 21, and [Baker’s] mother called four weeks ago and asked if her son could be included,” Maul said. “So, we pulled some strings and said yes, we would recognize this hometown hero.”
THERE SHE GOES — The clock installation took place in several stages, over a few days last week.
Site preparation began on Oct. 28, and the 2,000-pound Vermont granite base was installed by Smith-Weismantel employees on Nov. 22. On Nov. 26, the clock was transported from the village electric garage, where it had been living since its delivery, and placed in its final spot. A technician from the Verdin Company, the clock manufacturer from Cincinnati, Ohio, supervised the installation.
The clock is a 18-foot, 9-inch tall Westminster model in dark green with gold trim. It can play 700 tunes, in addition to traditional chimes. The clock includes a GPS that will set the time according to the atomic clock, so that it will always be correct, even if the power goes out.
“It’s got a lot of complex mechanical guts,” Batterson said. “People don’t get how complex it all is. We want it to work and work properly.”
The historian explained that the clock’s “Concord” emblem faces north and south and the “Springville” sign faces east and west, so that “Concord” looks toward Concord Town Hall and “Springville” faces Main Street, which he called “the center of Springville.
“It was logical,” he said. “We try to do things based on logic.”
The clock replaces one that stood at that corner from the 1920s until 1971, when it was torn down. Batterson said the committee decided to locate the new clock in the same place, so that it could be seen driving down Main Street, from all directions.
“It’s a real emblem,” he said. “And we just really hope people enjoy it.”
The clock, as well as the newly redesigned M&T Bank Park, will be officially dedicated at a ceremony on Dec. 7, starting at 11 a.m.
Each attendee will receive a commemorative wooden nickel.