125-foot water tower demolished on Skaggs Island

January 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The demolition of approximately 150 buildings began Wednesday on Skaggs Island, which served as an intelligence-gathering site and communications base for the U.S. Navy for more than half a century.

The 3,310-acre site, located 25 miles northeast of San Francisco in Sonoma County, will be transferred from the Navy to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when demolition is complete and will eventually become part of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The Navy demolished a 12-story, 125-foot steel water tower on property it occupied from 1941 to 1993.

The two front legs of the tower were pre-cut so when two pieces of heavy equipment pulled on cables attached to the sides of the tower, it fell forward and down.

Blasting is prohibited to protect wildlife in the area, Fernandez said.

Among the other structures slated for demolition over the next several months are a movie theater, bowling alley, power plant and former barracks, said Doug Cordell, spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, helped secure $8.8 million in state funds for the demolition, Cordell said.

Public hearings on a comprehensive conservation plan will determine the future use of the property and what areas will have public access, Cordell said.