Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Water Tower Town

I love what gets folks fired up in this town – it speaks to who we are – what are values are.

I’m sure that by now everyone has heard of the town’s intentions to remove the iconic water tower at Cary High School. I am sure that you have heard about it because we are hearing from you…a lot of you. Emails, a petition, phone calls and even folks coming by the shop to talk about it. You are upset. This is important to you.

When I first learned of this in a staff meeting a couple of weeks ago I too was shocked. “No way!” I said. “That tower means so much to the Cary High community – folks will be very upset”. “Why?”

And then town staff explained why.

The tower has reached the end of its life cycle. The steel is rusting and the costs to repair and repaint the structure are not cost effective when compared to the construction and lifespan of a new tower. The town’s needs have also changed since this tower was constructed 50 years ago. The town now needs a million gallon tank to better serve existing residents and plan for future demands (the existing tank is 500,000 gallons). The existing tower site cannot accommodate a larger structure. The town has acquired a site behind East Cary Middle that can accommodate the new tower and plans to begin construction in the next 3-4 years.

We also cannot just empty it and leave it. Believe it or not the tower needs the weight of the water to help hold it down. An empty water tower in a hurricane would be bad.

This is the most cost effective and fiscally responsible manner in which to proceed.

But it’s pretty darn tough to put a price on who we are.

Given the community feedback (Love ya’ll CHS family! ;-) and that we do have a lot of time to work on this, that’s what we are going to do. The town will be exploring options that could possibly include keeping the tank or possibly an alternate display of the class of 20XX.

Keep in mind that with alternatives to that which professional engineers deem most efficient might come cost. How much is keeping the tower worth to you? And do you think the parents of Green Hope High School seniors want to help pay for you to keep it? ;-)

My lovely wife, Lisa and five of our six children graduated from Cary High School. Liz will be the class of 2019. It just wouldn’t be the same if that tower wasn’t there…

It is kinda funny though. Propose a new tower in a neighborhood and folks will protest it. Propose taking an old tower out, and they protest it. I love this job ;-)

Hang in there folks, we’ll give it our best and if any of you creative folks have an idea, please let us know.