CRESTVIEW — Placing the McMahon Environmental Center's retired fire watch tower on the National Historic Lookout Register could facilitate obtaining grants to restore the structure as part of center refurbishments.
City Councilman Mickey Rytman, who supports preserving the tower, said he investigated including it on the national registry as a concerned citizen, not in his official council capacity.
"All I did was nominate it and the outcome was we are now on the registry," Rytman said.
Rytman's fellow council members were surprised by his report during Monday evening's council meeting.
"We were discussing taking the tower down but now it is on the National Historic Register," Councilman Tom Gordon said. "Have we just tied our hands by joining this registry?"
City Clerk Betsy Roy said the National Historic Lookout Register is not a Department of Interior protected historic structures listing such as the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the registry's website, it is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Forest Service and the Forest Fire Lookout Association.
"It is an organization that basically saves fire towers and gives us the chance to participate in grants that they have," Rytman said. "It doesn't lock us into anything."
The Crestview Kiwanis Club has undertaken refurbishment of the park as a community service project.
Roy, a Kiwanis member, said the club considers the tower's placement on the registry "a good thing" and welcomes the possibility of restoration grant money.
"Nobody really wanted to take the tower down and this could be a way to preserve it," Roy said.