Instead of tearing down an unsightly, unused concrete structure from the 1930s, the Canton Tourism Commission in Missouri decided to use it as the base of a new observation deck. Built with 8-foot concrete walls, the old structure housed pumps that would draw water from the Mississippi River and supply the residents of Canton.

Before construction, the structure was evaluated by a civil engineer who said it was in excellent condition. Because it was deemed an integral part of the levee itself, the city has worked hard to maintain the structure because demolishing it would adversely affect the integrity of the levee.

The existing metal roof cap atop the structure was demolished to make room for a new concrete cap. This formed the base of the new observation deck which is reached by steel and concrete stairs. The deck was then covered by a cable-stayed canopy roof specifically designed for the location.

The observation deck required one cubic yard of cast-in-place concrete. The levee sidewalk, steps, and handicap ramp, all part of the $160,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant awarded to the city, required 156 cubic yards of concrete. The project was completed in June 2014.

The deck is an attractive location for admiring the Mississippi River. “What had been an eyesore became a point of pride,” says Jim Upchurch, chairman of the Canton Tourism Commission.