An ad hoc group of Murray residents living near the American Smelter and Refining Co. site is sending out an SOS message this week:

"Save our smokestacks."Melissa Lyman and several neighbors have begun circulating petitions to urge city officials to reinforce and refurbish the historic stacks rather than demolish them.

The group also put out a plea for local residents to attend a smelter discussion meeting, which was to be held Tuesday afternoon at Murray City Hall, to voice their opinions on what should be done with the smokestacks.

John Christensen, Lyman's brother and a spokesman for the group, said he's concerned that developers want the smokestacks removed and may ask Murray's Redevelopment Agency to provide a grant for that purpose.

"I've been talking to citizens, and about six out of 10 are saying let's keep the stacks if we can," said Christensen, also a Republican candidate for the Senate District 3 seat. "The rest seem to have mixed feelings about it."

He said he supports the positions taken by Councilmen John Ward and John Rush, who maintain residents should be allowed to vote on the fate of the stacks.

One option under consideration by the City Council is funding all or part of the $2 million to $4 million needed to refurbish the stacks by issuing a general obligation bond, which requires a public vote.

"I agree with Ward that it takes just about as much to tear them down as it does to keep them up," said Christensen.

"I grew up in Murray three blocks east of where the stacks are located and fished the pond that used to be directly below them," he added. "They should be kept as a reminder of the historical development of Murray. Once torn down, they can never be replaced."

People interested in linking up with the ad hoc group can contact Lyman at 266-0497 or Christensen at 595-8151.