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Work is under way atop Castle Rock to install a new flagpole for our local landmark.
The current 38-foot steel flagpole was installed in the 1930s. The metal is worn and is cracked at the base, making it too dangerous to continue using that pole. Not to mention the light beneath the pole that has illuminated the flag at night since 1991 – a requirement of the United States Flag Code – has been a target of vandals.
The Town’s Parks Maintenance Division began work earlier this month to replace the flagpole. The division is responsible for maintaining the pole and the flag – including half-staff displays and replacements.
There are two stories regarding why the flag was put up in the first place, said Town Park Operations and Planning Manager Curt Williams. The first is that it was added at the same time as the star to make people feel good. The other is that there simply was leftover metal from the star’s construction, so it was used to make the flagpole.
The pole actually sat empty for nearly 20 years – from sometime in the ‘70s until 1991 – because the maintenance became too costly, and nobody wanted to take on the burden. The Town resurrected the flag in 1991 as a show of patriotism during the Gulf War. A flag has flown above the Rock continuously ever since.
The new pole is expected to be in use within a couple weeks, weather permitting. It will stand 40 feet tall, is made of aluminum and can withstand sustained winds of up to 80 mph and gusts of up to 100 mph. The new pole will hold a 6-foot-by-10-foot flag, and an 8-foot-by-12-foot flag can be used on special occasions; the current pole accommodates a 5-foot-by-8-foot flag.
The ropes used to raise and lower the flag will be encased in aluminum, and the fixture that lights the flag will be mounted atop the pole, which will reduce maintenance needs caused by weather and vandalism. The light bulb will have a life span of 100,000 hours. Thanks to the Intermountain Rural Electric Association for donating the power for the flag display.