Tipp City Council could vote as soon as its next meeting March 6 to locate a new water tower for the low service area near the city service center north of West Main Street.
Council again discussed possible tower sites Feb. 21 at a work session attended by several people who live near the previously discussed top tower site off South Hyatt Street.
After reviewing options again Feb. 21, four council members verbally indicated support for placing the tower near the service center.
Before making a decision, though, they requested input from Fire Chief Steve Kessler. Information on the impact on property values of a water tower in a residential area also will be sought, City Manager Tim Eggleston said.
The city took another look at options for replacing the aging Bowman Avenue water tower after the South Hyatt Street site was questioned by residents who said they didn’t want the tower near their residential neighborhoods.
The Bowman Avenue water tower was slated for demolition once a new water tower was finished near Tippecanoe High School a few years ago. Concerns about having enough water to fight fires in the low service area led council to take a step back last year and evaluate whether to build a new tower or renovate the 1930s Bowman Avenue tower. The renovation cost was estimated at around $1 million while a new tower's price tag was between $2.4 million and $2.6 million depending on the location selected.
At the March 6 meeting, Eric Mack, deputy director of municipal services, said consultants who had studied the potential sites were asked to do additional modeling to obtain more information on the service center area site and the projected water flow for firefighting if the tower would be placed there.
To increase the flow with a tower in that location, Mack said a larger water main and looping of lines would be added in addition to the tower.
Both the service center and South Hyatt towers would have a 500,000-gallon tank with 300-gallon per minute additional water possible from the service center site compared to the existing tower. The Hyatt Street site would provide an additional 800-gallon per minute. The Bowman Avenue tower fire flow is 1,900 gallon per minute.
“Either way, you are increasing the fire flow,” Mack said.
The cost of the tower off South Hyatt was estimated at $2.4 million while the one at the service center was estimated at $2.6 million. The city owns the service center site property. It would need to purchase the South Hyatt property. The city has received a $2.2 million zero interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission for the project.
Residents at the meeting said it was unusual for a tower to be located in a residential area and expressed concerns about a tower negatively affecting property values. Property owner Steve Staub asked the city to obtain the property value related information.
Mayor Pat Hale said he wanted to hear the fire chief’s thoughts on the differences in fire flow from the sites before making a final commitment. Councilman John Kessler argued for the South Hyatt Street site, saying that location would help with pressure problems throughout the low service system.
Gibson emphasized council had not been told there was a safety issue involved with either site.
“The only safety issue was taking Bowman (tower) down. That was the only issue,” said Councilmember Katelyn Berbach. “We have to have a water tower of some kind somewhere.”