The times, they are a changin'
It's no longer permanently 12:05 at the corner of Superior Street and Third Avenue West. Six of the city's decorative clock faces told the right time on Tuesday for the first time in years, thanks to a $10,000 donation from an anonymous trust, sa...
It's no longer permanently 12:05 at the corner of Superior Street and Third Avenue West.
Six of the city's decorative clock faces told the right time on Tuesday for the first time in years, thanks to a $10,000 donation from an anonymous trust, said Kristi Stokes, president of the Greater Downtown Council.
"It was really good timing," Stokes said of the donation that finally wound up the stalled clocks.
Public criticism of the broken clocks had been mounting as people wondered why the city should even keep the ornamental timepieces -- which were installed in the late 1980s -- if they weren't working.
"It just helps present a really positive image for the downtown," Stokes said of the newly accurate clocks. "It's hard when you have something that's so visible that isn't working."
City crews took the guts out of the broken clocks and sent them off for repairs in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the clocks began ticking once again. The downtown council's Clean and Safe team will take on routine clock maintenance such as oiling and greasing the moving parts, Stokes said.
Two of the three clocks on the Canal Park Drive obelisk also are being repaired, Stokes said, though those clock motors had to be sent to a different repair company. All three faces should be working within a few weeks.
The clocks are expensive to maintain because the clock motors have to be replaced periodically, said Dan Green, Duluth's manager of facilities operations.
"There's not a lot we can do to them," Green said. "The motors just get worn out and die."
And during a city budget crunch, spending $10,000 on clock maintenance is a tough choice, Green said.
"It's always a matter of priorities," Green said. "It's hard to say if they would have been repaired" without funding from the Greater Downtown Council.
Stokes already had received one congratulatory e-mail from a downtown worker about the working clocks, and city crews reported receiving thanks while they were installing new motors, Stokes said.
"It's going to take time for people to realize they can look at these clocks again and find the right time," Stokes said.