By Jeff Gallatin
A longtime fixture on the North Olmsted skyline, the city’s water tower, will be getting a major facelift in 2013.
Cleveland Division of Water officials reviewed plans with North Olmsted City Council’s Building, Zoning and Development Committee during the Oct. 9 council committee sessions. The work is part of a series of renovations of older facilities by the Cleveland water department, which provides water to the city of North Olmsted as one of Cleveland’s suburban customers.
“It’s one of the two largest renovations in the six renovations,” said David Frank, representing Arcadis U.S., the Cleveland firm putting together the renovation projects for Cleveland Water.
Frank said current cost estimates for the work are about $1.9 million. They plan to advertise for bids for the rest of October, then award the contract in early 2013. Frank said they would like to have construction begin in the spring of 2013, but said it could be a few weeks later, depending on the contractor and that firm’s schedule.
“It’s somewhat flexible, but we have the work scheduled for completion in the summer of 2014,” Frank said.
Work will include recoating the water tank’s interior and exterior surfaces. The paint will be the same as the current color scheme of a red and white checkerboard, although water department officials agreed that many people think the current shade of red is closer in color to orange. The building and architectural style will be designed to match current styles in the North Olmsted area.
In the work, the current brick pump house located in front of the water tower at 4930 Dover Center Road will be demolished and replaced with a newer, larger one. The water tower was built in 1949 and was last painted in 1992. Frank said the pump house and water tower will have newer equipment, which will enhance the tower’s primary role of storing water and being a backup for area communities’ water needs. In addition, the tower will be shrouded to meet safety requirements during sandblasting and related work.
During questions, Ghassan Ali, of the water department’s engineering staff, said there are no plans to replace the tower with a newer facility in Olmsted Township or Olmsted Falls. He acknowledged that there had been discussion of that several years ago, but said that idea has been put aside.
“We know it’s somewhat of a landmark in North Olmsted,” he said. “The renovations should prolong its usefulness.”
Ward 1 Councilman Lou Brossard expressed concern about some of the landscaping plans for placing trees at the intersection of Dover Center and Mill roads. Brossard said he already frequently hears complaints both about the sightlines for motorists there, as well as the long duration of the traffic signal located at the intersection.
Both Brossard and Mayor Kevin Kennedy asked if the plans could be altered somewhat to deal with the sight and light issues. Kennedy noted that during the project would be an ideal time to make any changes to the area, saying that would be preferable to additional traffic studies of the area, which could be expensive. Both Frank adn Ali said they would be happy to work with North Olmsted on making improvements to that intersection, as well as any on the overall project, if North Olmsted officials see them as needed.