Libertyville takes steps to build new water tower
LIBERTYVILLE — The city of Libertyville is moving forward with its plan to build a new water tower in 2013.
The city council approved a motion Tuesday to pay Chris Bowers of Area 15 Regional Planning Commission $3,500 to complete a 90-day environmental review. The study is a requirement of the Community Development Block Grant program, which Libertyville hopes will contribute $300,000 to the project.
While the state won’t announce recipients until March, Bowers said starting the review now would speed the timeline of the project, and also the chances of receiving the state grant.
“Anything the city can do to look more ready than other small towns is an advantage in the state’s view,” he said.
City engineer Jim Warner designed the project, which he said is estimated to cost $954,000 in all. Warner said the project will not only include a new water tower, but also new water mains and valves, a new pump station and generator. The city also will pursue a second source of funding with a low-interest loan from the State Revolving Fund.
“The water tower is old, it was built in mid-1950s,” said Warner. “It’s too small, it’s damaged and also is located in the wrong place in town, so it doesn’t circulate properly.”
All factors result in low water pressure and unpredictable water quality. While the town’s population of about 300 hasn’t grown much, Warner said the use of appliances such as dishwashers have overextended the antiquated system.
“It doesn’t meet modern needs,” he said.
Water pressure and a notice from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources prompted the city to make plans to replace the tower and outdated pipes beginning in 2010. Recently resigned mayor Darryl Davison helped make goals to complete a new fire station and water tower by the end of 2013. Davison saw through the Liberty Fire Department project, which recently moved to a newly renovated facility.
Bowers said approving the review would make it possible to achieve the goal of completing the project in 2013. Councilman Wes Davis made a motion to approve payment for the environmental review services, and Alan Love seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.
“We can now get started,” said Bowers.
Davis pointed out the city could use the environmental review to apply again for the block grant if the city didn’t get it this year.
“It’s not like we’re throwing away the money if we don’t get the grant,” said Davis. “At some point we will need a new water tower.”
The purpose of the review, said Warner, is to ensure the project will not have a significant impact on the surrounding environment, such as disturbing wetlands or native endangered species. He said it also considers what might be underground.
“They want to make sure we’re not going to dig out anything historically significant, such as artifacts from a Native American site or a historical building,” he said.
City attorney Paul Miller wished to clarify the city’s obligations by signing off on the review.
Bowers assured Miller the city would not be required to go through with the construction phase of the project if the grant fell through and could pay for the project’s design in installments.
“You would decide how soon you want to start, with or without the block grant,” said Bowers.