by Bob Gaetjens | Editor
Streetsboro — Plans for the city’s 1.5 million gallon water tower are quickly coming to fruition.
The Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved the site plan for the structure Nov. 13, which Mayor Glenn Broska said would cost $3.3 million to $3.6 million.
The facility will be located off Route 43 on the old Carter Lumber site, which is now home to the city’s water department.
“It was really kind of fortuitous that Carter Lumber became available because I believe it is the highest point in the city,” said Broska.
That location would help the tower do its natural job — increasing water pressure with the aid of gravity, he explained.
While the site plan was unanimously approved, Commission member Davene Sarrocco-Smith said she would prefer there be lights at the base of the tower for security and safety of city workers.
“I’m still a little concerned about the lack of lighting,” she said. “[The tower] sits way off the road.”
Broska said there’s existing lighting from the old Carter Lumber operation which helps illuminate the site.
“It’s not going to be completely dark up there by any stretch of the imagination,” he told the commission. “To light a path I think is unnecessary. The lighting that’s on the property will be kept up to date.”
Planning and Economic Development Director Jeff Pritchard said the facility still requires the approval of the Portage County Water Resource Department, which will be asked to sign off on the sanitary sewer system for the facility.
Engineering Director Bruce Terrell said he doesn’t expect approval of the system to be a problem because there won’t be workers in the tower most of the time so the system won’t have to handle much volume.
According to Said AbouAbdallah, project manager from Arcadis, the shaft of the tower will be concrete and the bulb will be steel. The tower’s controls will be accessed from inside the structure, and access to the tank above will also be from inside. Workers accessing the site will actually be able to drive inside the structure to park.
AbouAbdallah said the base would be fenced in and monitored by security cameras.
“I think some of these advanced security cameras can still pick up movement without light,” he said.
The Planning & Zoning Commission will be asked to approve the color and signage for the tower during a future meeting.
Broska said the tower is needed to help provide water pressure to some areas of town with narrow water lines and low pressure.
“There are areas that are underpressured because of the way the water lines are connected up,” he said, describing a spot on Gillie Drive where a fire hydrant’s pressure was so low the department was only able to get air from it once. “It will enable us to equalize water pressure throughout the city.”
He said the water tower also could reduce reliance on outside sources of water in an emergency which shuts off the water supply from another source.
He said he’s “working on a plan to pay for it.”
“As it stands right now, until other plans come together, we would just note it out until we have a permanent solution for it,” he said.