Strasburg is considering two locations for a proposed 110-foot water tower that would meet the town's future water needs. One site is on town land in the Crystal Hill neighborhood and the other is on private property on Pouts Hill, near homes in Stony Pointe.
At a work session Monday, about a dozen people from Crystal Hill told council they did not want a tower in their backyards, blocking their mountain views and lowering their property values. At least one person from Stony Pointe expressed similar feelings.
Regarding the Crystal Hill viewshed, let's also consider how another water tower at this entrance to town would look to motorists driving slowly down the hill on U.S. Route 11. To the left is a shopping center, row after row of homes with the mountains and a new water tower in the background; to the right, motorists are welcomed to town by an ugly scar on the landscape where trees were felled for construction that was never completed. Straight ahead, rising above town, is the old sky-blue water tower.
There is a sense of urgency in making a decision. The town has $850,000 left from a grant that it can use to pay for part of the new tower, which is estimated to cost more than $2 million. But the town has less than a year to use the grant money - or lose it.
The decision of if and where to put a new tower will affect all town residents, not just those in Crystal Hill or Stony Pointe. Other than aesthetics, we urge residents to learn more about the proposal, the cost to taxpayers and what experts say will be needed in the future.
We also urge council to not make a hasty decision. Listen to residents' opinions, get experts' recommendations and determine what makes the most sense before deciding if and where the shadow of a new tower will fall across Strasburg.