TANKED: Neighbors give input on tower
The new Allday resident will be a 500,000-gallon, 155-foot-tall concrete and steel water tower. Monday’s meeting was to hear concerns over the construction process from the neighborhood and to outline the process.
During the sometimes lively discussion, area residents voiced concerns over possible damages to streets, traffic problems and disruptions to every- day lives during the construction process.
Designer Charles Kucherka and builder Clay Wiatrek outlined the year-long project, fielding numerous questions. “At the end of the day we have to make everybody happy,” Kucherka said.
CONCERNS—Wiatrek said there will be heavy vehicle traffic down the street, including three “ big picks,” visits by a 45-ton crane.
Robert Edwards, who lives across the street from the current tower, expressed concern over effects of the heavy traffic.
“We’ve finally got a halfway decent street,” he said. “When trucks get on the edge they’re going to tear it up.”
City Manager Kelvin Knauf said any street problems would be addressed by the city.
Another concern was effects of sand blasting the new tower when construction reaches that stage.
“I still have remnants (of the sand blasting) from the other tower,” Edwards said.
Wiatrek said the sand blasting would be “full containment” and added “It’s our intention not to damage anything.”
SCHEDULE—Wiatrek told the neighbors there could be instances when work would need to be done before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
He promised to communicate with the neighborhood on any schedule changes.
Wiatrek said the concrete pedestal, containing a central hollow core, providing access to the top, would be built in numerous pours containing chemicals to hasten the setting up process.
Once the base is poured the steel tank will be constructed on the ground then raised around the central stem.
He said Monday was the formal start of the project. “We got the notice to proceed today (July 22),” Wiatrek said.
DEMOLITION—The schedule calls for the pedestal to be constructed in September and October, tank construction in December and the tank hoisted on top in February, 2014.
Demolition of the current tower would be sometime in May or June of next year.
“We have to run (the new tower) for 10 days before we can switch over,” Wiatrek said.
That’s not all that will be demolished. Knauf said the legs of the city’s former Mill Street tower, which have remained standing for two decades, will also come down as will a storage tank at the city’s Texas Street water plant.
PROTECTION—Some residents questioned the city’s wisdom in building a new water tower, asking if money should have been spent on streets or other needs.
Former Mayor Larry Jones, who attended Monday’s session, along with current Mayor John King, said the city didn’t have any choice.
Jones said the state informed the city the current Allday Street tower was inadequate to provide fire protection to structures such as schools and Walmart.
Knauf said the city sold certificates of obligation, with a 20-year payout, to pay for the tower.
Some residents questioned the quality of the water to be pumped into the new tower.
Knauf replied that the addition of the chemical Sea Quest into Rockdale’s water system last fall has produced some positive results.
“ It’s improved the water a whole lot,” he said.
Some Allday residents told city officials they were still unhappy over the way their street was annexed into the city limits a decade ago.
Edwards said he felt Allday continued to be a “step-child.”
“We had no idea we were going to be annexed,” Evelyn Hirt said. “Then it took years to get anything out here.”
About half of Allday is now inside the city limits.
STATEMENT—Wiatrek said the tower will be a showpiece with LED lighting showcasing only the Rockdale logo, not floodlighting illuminating the pedestal as well.
“We want this to be a statement for Rockdale,” Knauf said. “It’s going to look nice.”
Wiatrek said the Rockdale water tower will look similar to the familiar Taylor and Hutto towers along US 79 between those two cities, also built by Landmark Structures.
He showed slides of a Landmark tower in Stroud, Oklahoma, that survived a hit by an F5 tornado and said a Landmark tower on the Texas Gulf Coast survived Hurricane Rita with minimal damage.