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New water tower to be in Fossil Park

Council votes 7-0 in Sylvania after heated public session

  • Rosemary-Thorn-angry-at-water-tower-project

    Rosemary Thorn calls the 2 million-gallon tower a monstrosity and the 500,000-gallon Burnham tower a ‘toothpick’ in comparison.

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  • Carol-Lindhuber-supports-water-tower-in-fossil-park

    Carol Lindhuber, one of the handful of those at the meeting who supported the location at Fossil Park, says she knows the city needs the tower and she has no problem with the proposed site.

    The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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  • Kevin-Aller-chief-of-public-service-at-water-tower-meeting

    Kevin Aller, chief of public service, says the site has a favorable elevation and is 1,200 feet from the nearest homes. Still, many said the 125-foot-high tower would ruin Centennial Terrace’s ambience.

    The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Kevin-Aller-chief-of-public-service-at-water-tower-meeting

Kevin Aller, chief of public service, says the site has a favorable elevation and is 1,200 feet from the nearest homes. Still, many said the 125-foot-high tower would ruin Centennial Terrace’s ambience.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

After years of study and months of deliberating, Sylvania City Council on Monday decided to place a new 2 million-gallon elevated water tank in Fossil Park, in the city’s northwest corner.

The 7-0 vote was taken after council members listened for nearly two hours to a succession of residents who opposed the site.

Opponents said the 125-foot-high tower would destroy the ambience of Centennial Terrace and its popular outdoor dancing and music, as well as Fossil and Pacesetter parks, and would spoil the views from their homes.

They maintained there were better, less obtrusive locations for the water tower and collected several hundred signatures on petitions from residents who felt the same way.

Before the vote, one of the opponents, Pat Stark of Summer Place Drive, showed a video clip of a sunset at Centennial Terrace and told council members: “You’re going to ruin that sunset. You’re going to take away an asset of the city.”

But in the end, council was swayed by the engineering case made by the city’s services director, Kevin Aller, who said the site had a favorable elevation and other conditions and was 1,200 feet away from the nearest homes. Council did agree to move the site 100 yards west of the original location at the request of homeowners.

Rosemary-Thorn-angry-at-water-tower-project

Rosemary Thorn calls the 2 million-gallon tower a monstrosity and the 500,000-gallon Burnham tower a ‘toothpick’ in comparison.

the blade/amy e. voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Mr. Aller explained that placing the tank north of the Michigan line on property owned by Dana Holding Corp., as some of the opponents suggested, would mean forgoing $1 million in funding for the project from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

Likewise, a proposed site at Flower Hospital was out of the question because the tower would pose a hazard to medical helicopters, he said.

A location at Veterans Memorial Park would be in the “backyards” of homeowners in that neighborhood and require the replacement of heavy waterlines.

Mr. Aller said a ground-level storage facility would be a bad idea. “If you don’t have mountains or hills, you typically have elevated tanks,” he said.

Ground-level storage requires pumps, which could break down, he explained. An elevated tank uses gravity flow.

Opponents of the Fossil Park site, which is between Centennial Road to the east and Sylvania-Metamora Road to the north, acknowledged Sylvania’s water system needs more capacity. It has a 500,000-gallon elevated tank at Burnham Park, in a residential area.

In the event of a power outage or other breakdown, the Burnham Park tank gave the city a six-hour water supply, Mr. Aller said.

With the addition of a 2 million-gallon elevated tank, the supply would increase to a full day — “a much better scenario,” Mr. Aller continued.

Carol-Lindhuber-supports-water-tower-in-fossil-park

Carol Lindhuber, one of the handful of those at the meeting who supported the location at Fossil Park, says she knows the city needs the tower and she has no problem with the proposed site.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Heavy demand this summer caused Sylvania officials to order mandatory water-use restrictions. These were lifted Sept. 1. Councilman Michael Brown noted there were times in recent months when the city lacked the water to fight a substantial fire.

Opponents remained insistent that Fossil Park was a terrible location.

“This thing is a monstrosity,” said Rosemary Thorn of Winterhaven Drive, adding that the tower at Burnham Park was “a toothpick” compared to the new one.

The Fossil Park site did have a handful of supporters, one of whom, Carol Lindhuber of Brandy Lane, said, “I know we need the tower very badly. I have no problem with the proposed location.”

Afterward, Mr. Stark said he believed the vote had been a foregone conclusion.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.

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