A section of West Court Street in Woodstock could soon see water and sewer infrastructure improvements as the town seeks to address concerns about limited fire suppression ability in the area.
Town Manager Angela Clem presented Town Council members with a proposed plan during Monday’s Water and Sewer Committee meeting that she said should solve the problem of low fire flow in an area that includes the old school building, which is undergoing renovations that will repurpose the structure as a residential building with 12 apartment units. Clem noted that during discussions regarding the site plan for the old school, it was revealed that a nearby hydrant has “very low” fire flow in the 350-450 gallons per minute range, which she added is “cause for concern for future development in that area.”
Clem said a 4-inch water line along Court Street is to blame for restricting the volume of water available for fire suppression, and part of the proposed solution is the construction of an extension of an 8-inch water line from nearby Locust St. The extension would run from Locust Street across the bottom of the Woodstock Commons property, currently owned by the town, to the portion of the parcel housing the old school building that the town has retained as part of the purchase agreement with Echelon Resources, the firm that is redeveloping the historic building and is conducting the project under the name Woodstock Lofts.
That extension, upon which two new fire hydrants would be installed, would increase fire flow in that area to around 1,000 gallons per minute, Clem said.
The proposed infrastructure upgrades in that area also include the replacement of a small section of the sewer line and improvements to the town’s stormwater collection through the installation of two drop inlets on either side of West Court Street near the old school and a new line that would pump stormwater to a nearby retention pond, Clem said.
Clem said during Monday’s meeting that all of the infrastructure improvements would take place on town-owned property.
Town documents note a water line upgrade material estimate of $20,614, plus an additional $14,503 estimate for the stormwater infrastructure upgrade. Clem said money the town will receive through system development charges relating to two Woodstock Lofts projects – the old school building and a similar project at the historic bank building, also on Court Street – totaling an estimated $70,000 would be used to cover the costs of the infrastructure improvements.
The improvements could be done in-house by Woodstock’s public works department,
Clem said the town would need to rent a larger excavator for the project (the estimated cost includes $3,000-$4,000 for such a rental, she noted). She said public works is “ready to roll” on the project as soon as the Town Council takes an official vote on the matter.
“Usually it’s not something that we would do mid-budget year, but this is something that I see as solving a lot of problems,” Clem said during Monday’s committee meeting. “We’re improving fire flow in this location. This was something that was flagged on our site plan development from building inspection to the fire marshal, so it’s something that we could probably pretty easily remedy.”