The south-facing face was the first to come off the City Hall clock tower as an overhaul started in September. Photo by Dylan Thomas

Overhaul of City Hall clock tower underway

Updated: September 30, 2016 - 3:04 pm

An overhaul of the City Hall clock tower kicked into gear in the last week of September as crews removed the first of four clock faces.

Municipal Building Commission Director Erin Delaney said the goal of the roughly $2.1-million project was to restore the clock to its historically accurate appearance. Neon tubing added in 1949 was removed. The restored piece will once again be backlit, as it was originally, Delaney said.

“The timing element works just fine. That’s not part of the project,” she said. “But the white face will be replaced and the rolled steel will be replaced with cast aluminum.”

Porcelain-enameled steel clock faces were added to the clock tower in the middle of the last century. The original faces were glass, and the restoration will add back white glass to the clock.

Delaney said replacing steel clock parts with cast aluminum would limit corrosion and cut down on maintenance. The new clock parts are being made and tested by Brooklyn Park-based Versacon.

“One thing we have learned is that the condition of the steel and the porcelain is much more damaged and distressed than we originally estimated,” she said, adding that the extent of the damage could influence the timeline for the project.

For now, the goal is to replace all four clock faces by the end of 2016. The south-facing face was the first to come down.