BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a big night in Belen. For only the third time in the town’s history the high school football team is playing for a state title, but fans have been talking about more than just the game. There’s a lot of chatter about the demolition of a landmark that’s especially dear to the school.
It was hoots and hollers in Belen Friday as the second ranked Eagles prepared to take on the Artesia Bulldogs for the 5-A state title. The streets were lined with balloons and signs, but the big game isn’t the only thing people in town were talking about; a water tank was on a lot of people’s minds.
“It’s always there it’s just been a staple a kind of landmark in our community ever since I can remember,” said Karen Siegman.
The water tank catches everyone’s eyes as they drive through Belen on Interstate-25.
It’s also where graduating seniors have been putting their eagle pride on display for decades.
“That’s where all the kids go to mark it or whatever. That’s where it says Belen Eagles,” said Frances Trujillo.
But that’s about to change. The city is planning on tearing down the water tank in January.
“Over the years those thin walls have sort of worn away to the point that they just can’t hold water anymore, said Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova.
Cordova says the million gallon tank stopped working five years ago.
“We are going to be replacing it exactly the way that it is,” he said. “There will be a new eagle painted on there. We will spice it up a bit and be sure that we add to it and build upon what is already there.”
But not everyone’s happy with the city’s decision.
“That’s not the same. Why can’t they just leave it there and put another one?” said Trujillo.
Others see it as a new tradition.
“They can start with new paint and a new future and everything else. As long as the eagle is on there it will be just as nice as the old one,” said Alan Siegman.
The water tank has been a central part of Belen since the 1950s. Replacing it will increase the water pressure for people in town.