Queenstown ponders future of aged water tank
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.
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.