Town considers industrial park to store water
By Alex Bridges
The North Shenandoah Industrial Park may help Strasburg solve its water-storage needs.
Town leaders recently directed staff to look for potential sites for a water tower in the Shenandoah County's industrial park and adjacent land. Town Manager Judson Rex said Monday the idea comes in conjunction with planning future build-out of the park.
Strasburg officials plan for the Jan. 1 annexation of the industrial park that lies within an area known as the "Golden Triangle," bordered by Interstate 81, U.S. 11 and Va. 55. Staff also are working on a master plan that would lay out the future development of the industrial park.
"We're going to have to do some water modeling for that project to determine what facilities we'll need to really service that area in the future, and we want to incorporate that water modeling and not duplicate any efforts for the water storage solutions either," Rex said. "We're going to incorporate the two together and find an appropriate site in that area."
A study of Strasburg's water service conducted in 2012 showed the town needed to improve pressure and fire-suppression flows to the Madison Heights and Crystal Hill neighborhoods. The study recommended, among other improvements, that the town build a tower to supply water to the targeted areas.
Town Council considered putting a tower near Crystal Hill on land Strasburg owns. After residents protested the tower's potential impact on the view and property values, council looked at privately owned property near Pout's Hill. Residents of nearby Stony Pointe opposed this option and Town Council directed staff to come up with another possible solution.
In mid-June the town sought proposals from firms interested in helping Strasburg find solutions for its water storage, flow and pressure problems. The town received proposals submitted through the Virginia Public-Private Educational Facilities and Infrastructure Act. The legislation allows firms to submit proposals and require the governing bodies not disclose some proprietary information until discussions reach certain phases.
Town officials on Monday would not release specific details about the two proposals but, according to information from Rex, both focus on putting the water storage improvements exclusively within the Golden Triangle and the North Shenandoah Industrial and Business Park.
Staff contacted the entities that submitted proposals in the spring to advise them of the direction to focus on the Golden Triangle for water storage sites, Rex said.
The idea of putting a tower in the industrial park isn't new. During the months of debate over how to solve the town's water problems some residents asked officials if Strasburg could put a tower there. Rex noted that at the time town officials did look at the park as a possibility.
Officials raised concerns about the cost to connect a tower in the industrial park to the rest of the town system so far from the areas needing the improved services.
"We hope as we embark on this master-planning effort that we can find a good location that will sort of balance having the tower far enough from, or the storage solution far enough from town that we sort of minimize those aesthetic impacts but also minimize the amount of money we spend taking a water line out to the water storage solution," Rex said.
But a tower would still not need to lie in town limits, Rex said. He noted that the Pout's Hill site was in Shenandoah County. An existing water tank that serves the industrial park lies in the county off Va. 55. Rex explained that this 2-million gallon tank also serves residential users in the high-elevation water zone, such as Crystal Hill, Oxbow Estates and Founder's Landing.
"Depending on where you're at, kind of in that whole triangle area, it can make a difference and that's why we want to include the site selection for water storage in the master planning effort," Rex said. "So we can view a water storage tower or storage solution within the context of all the future land uses and space needs that are out in the Golden Triangle area."
Whether the town would need to buy land for the tower remains uncertain, Rex said. That would depend on what site the town chooses.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org