We agree that the old tin man water tower in Millstadt is a gem, a St. Clair County landmark that is worth preserving -- if it's done with private dollars, not taxpayer funds.
The Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower said that all the group is seeking from the village is time, then contradicted itself by asking the village to seek estimates for a study of whether the tower is structurally sound.
The village correctly said no. That study should be part of the private work. Surely the village could wait to transfer ownership until the study is complete.
Betty Keller Timmer of the Friends group wondered aloud recently whether interest in preserving the tower -- the group has more than 1,000 signatures on petitions -- will turn into elbow grease. The more crucial question is whether that interest will turn into cash donations.
As Belleville saw with the former downtown YMCA, many people say they want historic structures preserved, but only if someone else is paying the bill.
The village should give the supporters only time.