“It’s important to maintain it because it’s a historic time piece for the Merrimack Valley and everyone watches it,” said Dave Welbourn, president and chief executive officer of Essex County Community Foundation.
Waites’ contract is for 10 hours a week. In addition to making sure the clock is functioning, his other duties include cleaning the levels leading to the clock tower, repairing broken cables and gears.
“This is a good old clock. As long as it gets a weekly maintenance, it will last forever,” Waites said .
“I know how well the clock is by the sounds it makes and right now it’s running pretty good,” he said. “Nothing is perfect, but we do our best to keep it running.”
“I love this clock. I was always fascinated by it even as a little kid,” Waites said.
Even after two heart surgeries, Waites said he will continue as keeper of the Ayer Mill clock.
“I will retire when I say so,” he quipped.