Queen­stown pon­ders fu­ture of aged wa­ter tank

Record Observer - - News - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

QUEEN­STOWN — To re­fur­bish or to re­place?

That’s a ques­tion the Queen­stown Town Com­mis­sion­ers are go­ing to be con­sid­er­ing about the 50,000-gal­lon wa­ter tank in the heart of town that was built around 1932.

“We need to do some kind of an­a­lyza­tion of that tower to find out how much longer we can ex­pect to use it. Is it worth re­hab­bing, etc., and then go from there,” said Tom Wil­lis, pres­i­dent of the com­mis­sion­ers.

The is­sue re­cently came up be­cause the town was told by the com­pany that main­tains the tower that the ex­te­rior has to be sand­blasted and re­painted. “Ev­ery time you come into town you can see where a block of paint did fall off,” said Public Works Di­rec­tor Lane Cole. “They’re not telling us some­thing that’s not the truth.”

Com­mis­sioner Mike Bow­ell said Suez, the main­te­nance com­pany, told the town it would cost $200,000 to re­fur­bish the tank and of­fered five-year in­ter­est-free fi­nanc­ing with pay­ments of $44,392 each year for five years.

“The ques­tion is go­ing to be this — are we go­ing to put $200,000 into a tower that was built in 1932, and will it serve the needs of the town?” he asked.

A de­ci­sion doesn’t need to made right away, how­ever, giv­ing the town time to con­sider a course of ac­tion. Bow­ell said the town has 12 to 13 months to de­cide whether to re­fur­bish the tower or con­sider build­ing a new one.

“There are only so many times you can over­paint those tow­ers,” he said. “At some point in time you’ve got to take all that stuff off of there.” And be­cause lead paint is in­volved, the tower would have to be fully en­closed to cap­ture all the old paint that is taken off be­fore it is hauled away and dis­posed of, ac­cord­ing to Cole.

In re­sponse to Com­mis­sioner Ge­orge Plumbo’s ques­tion ask­ing when the tank was last ser­viced, Cole said it was cleaned out last year and the com­pany comes and in­spects the ex­te­rior yearly and al­most al­ways does some work.

Wil­lis rec­om­mended that the com­mis­sion­ers dis­cuss the mat­ter with Town En­gi­neer Bob Rauch to see about a study to de­ter­mine how long the tank will be vi­able.

“If it costs two to three mil­lion for a new one ... we could go ahead and re­fur­bish that one for a cou­ple of hun­dred thou­sand, and then when a pro­ject comes along such as Wheat­lands, we could re­quire a new tower to be built,” he said, re­fer­ring to prop­erty re­cently an­nexed into the town.

The tank in ques­tion is one of two in Queen­stown. The other is a 100,000-gal­lon tank at Queen­stown Pre­mium Out­lets. Cole said a new tank will even­tu­ally have to be put on the Wheat­lands prop­erty once de­vel­op­ment be­gins there, no mat­ter what de­ci­sion is made about the 1932-vin­tage tank near the town cen­ter. The start of that de­vel­op­ment is be­lieved to be sev­eral years away.

“If we’re go­ing to have any kind of growth, we’re go­ing to have to build an­other” tank at some point, Plumbo said.

Bow­ell be­lieves the ques­tion of re­fur­bish­ment or re­place­ment needs to be eval­u­ated care­fully be­cause costs es­ca­late quickly over time. “If you’re talk­ing 200,000 for this now, in five years it could be 400,000. That’s just the way it seems to work out. It’s some­thing that’s got to be ad­dressed,” he said.

PHOTO BY JACK SHAUM

The Queen­stown Town Com­mis­sion­ers are dis­cussing whether to re­ha­bil­i­tate the 84-year-old wa­ter tank in the heart of town, or re­place it. Paint has come off two places above the dou­ble E in the town’s name and its main­te­nance com­pany says the tank needs to be sand­blasted and re­painted at a cost of about $200,000.

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