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Council hears from residents on water tower


By Alex Bridges

Crystal Hill residents on Monday urged Strasburg Town Council to not build a needed water tower near their neighborhood.

But at least one resident of Stony Pointe near Pouts Hill told council not to put a tower near her house.

At a work session Monday, council heard from about a dozen people who all expressed concerns about a proposal to build a large water tank to meet the town's future needs. Council is considering two sites for the construction of the tank -- on town-owned land in Crystal Hill and privately owned property in Pouts Hill.

At the end of the two-hour discussion on the topic, council decided to ask Town Manager Judson Rex and Karl Schaeffer, associate vice president with Patton, Harris, Rust & Associates, to gather and bring back more information on the proposal. Specifically, council sought information on estimated price for the Pouts Hill land, the cost and time to conduct a geotechnical study on one or both sites to determine whether the ground can support a tank, and to see what other water system needs the town has.

Rex advised council the town has approximately $850,000 left from grant money used to build the new water treatment plant. However, Strasburg must spend the funds in less than a year or face losing the money, Rex explained.

The cost to build the tank in Crystal Hill comes to approximately $2.09 million for both the structure and water lines connecting it to the system, according to estimates. The cost to put the tank at Pouts Hill is slightly less, at $2.01 million. But that estimate does not include the cost to buy the land, according to Rex.

Rex recommended the town begin work on the towerbt using the remaining grant funds before the deadline. Meanwhile, he said he would look into possible matching grants from other sources to help complete the project. Some council members expressed worry other grants may not materialize and the town residents could not afford another water rate increase to pay for the debt.

The water modeling study recommended the town increase its storage capacity. But the study also noted other priorities. Councilman Donald Le Vine and Rich Orndorff Jr. suggested the town try to spend the remaining funds on other items on the list.

Most of the speakers live in the Crystal Hill neighborhood, where the tower, if constructed, would be plainly visible from many of their homes in front of either Signal Knob or Massanutten Mountain.

But balloons used to gauge the height of the tower also showed residents in Stony Pointe that they could see the structure from their homes, albeit obscured by trees.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


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