In December, Mike Nielson, a volunteer handyman with the Golden Valley Historical Society, was doing a routine check of the closed museum at 6731 Golden Valley Rd. To his dismay, there was some standing water near the toilets in the sub. ground, so he shut off the water and cleaned up the mess.
On the one hand, it is good that the water level has not risen too high: the archives of the company are at this level, although stored a few centimeters above the ground. Yet, as the leak went unnoticed for some time, the small building recently received the biggest water bill in its existence. In two months, the toilets on the first floor of the church had managed to drain $ 3,546 into the sewers.
Company Treasurer David Kuball called Golden Valley Utilities, who confirmed that about 200 gallons of water had poured down the drain per hour for several weeks. Kuball asked if there was a way to forgive the bill, but since Golden Valley buys treated water from Minneapolis, he understood the city’s options were limited.
“It’s basically a direct expense for them. They are very generous to society anyway, ”he said.
The company was able to foot the bill by drawing on reserve funds, which served as a reserve when the museum began construction in 2013. Yet the fund is not a bottomless pot of money.
Kuball explained that regular maintenance of the museum, which is in a building dating from 1882, can be expensive. Although the company makes improvements in small phases, the costs add up. Last year the church was painted. Next on the shopping list is a new furnace and a new air conditioner, which Kuball lamented he would much rather pay than the bill.
“Everything will be fine, it doesn’t bankrupt us, but it does impact our budget even though we have the reserves,” Kuball said.
Company officials estimated that the fateful toilet was installed in the church 40 years ago when the church was active and hosted child care. The only reason why the company chose to keep the toilets? It was a handy line for emptying the basement dehumidifier, which runs frequently to protect the museum collection.
Company officials are hopeful the pandemic has subsided enough this summer that the museum can reopen and once again be able to host public history discussions. Kuball wondered if a year of postponed weddings would mean a few more bookings of the museum’s chapel space. Kuball joked that those looking for a venue should know that the museum has two modern and working toilets in the bride and groom’s changing rooms.
Meanwhile, Kuball said company officials approached the final hurdle with humor.
“You have to take it as it hits you,” Kuball said.
The February edition of the company’s newsletter explained the situation in a column titled “We really, really hate throwing money down the toilet.”
“Ah, the operating expenses of a building even when it is temporarily closed because of the Covid-19! The column read.