NEW MARKET—Town Council is ready to move forward with plans to build a second water tower with the goal of offering residents improved service and providing a potential marker for the rebranding of New Market.

Talks for the roughly $2 million project started last November with initial, formal presentations laying out options for tower styles coming before the Town Council in October of this year.

On Monday evening, council met for a work session to prepare for a process that could kick off as soon as next spring.

William P. Johnson, an engineering consultant, said initial geotechnical surveys of both prospective sites looked good. The town hopes to install the second tower either at the end of Ship Street or behind the outfield at Rebel Field.

“The good news is that the rock is within 10 feet of the surface of the ground in both cases,” Johnson told council members.

Town Manager Todd Walters, said the preferred location is Ship Street. The town already owns the land at the ballpark but it also holds a $180,000 option on the land at Ship Street.

While both sites appear to be suitable for the 500,000-gallon tank, the preliminary findings confirmed one of the drawbacks of the Rebel Park site.

“The site behind the ballfield is about 20 feet lower in elevation than the site at Ship Street,” Johnson said. “If we chose that site, the length of the leg would be … 10 feet longer.”

Longer legs mean more construction and ultimately, a more expensive project.

Council agreed the town should move forward with a spheroid tower — similar to Mount Jackson’s — in mind. Johnson didn’t want to recommend one style over another, urging council members to keep one in mind so continuing research can be tailored for the preferred style.

“This looks elegant — as far as a water tank can look elegant,” Peggy Harkness, a council member said, pointing to a model of the tank in question.

To secure funding for the project, Johnson suggested the town look into grants from the Health Department and Rural Development.

Rough timelines for funding applications have the town hearing from the Health Department in early spring and Rural Development in the fall.

In the meantime, Johnson said, continuing surveys of both sites will determine which is more suitable for the tower.

Walters told council members they should expect to see a budget item related to the water tower project. One of Walters’ plans when the town hired him last year was to spur a rebranding project.

According to Walters, the rebranding project should start next year and appear as a budget item in May.

While the timeline on rebranding is murky, there will be some overlap when it comes to deciding what goes up on the side of the water tower. Part of the reason Walters said he hopes the tower is on Ship Street is its ideal commercial location.

Scott Wymer was not present for Monday’s meeting.

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