The Laurel Street tank — now decades old — has outlived its usefulness and its replacement is part of the city’s efforts to prepare infrastructure for the new development in the city’s former textile district.
Unlike the existing Laurel Street tower, the proposed design includes a concrete base. Moving away from the iron sided concept will save the city an estimated $500,000 in repainting costs every few years.
The proposal also includes a brick wall, for added security and aesthetics, City Manager David Vehaun said. The wall will surround the interior of the water tower system and divide the public and restricted areas of the small park. Approximately 30 or so parking spaces are planned for the area.
City crews will install curbs and gutters along Laurel and East White Street as part of the Knowledge Park beautification efforts.
“I didn’t really see the need to go out and spend a lot of money on big architectural firms,” Vehaun said. Vehaun and his staff spent the better part of a year to develop concept ideas for the project.
Also included in the plan are a series of vertical LED arrays — covered by one-foot wide glass enclosures. The LEDs, while higher in initial cost, are cheaper to operate and last 15 to 20 years.
City Council will likely consider the proposal in May.
In a workshop Thursday, city councilman John Black questioned the levels of light pollution that may affect nearby homes and businesses. Vehaun said the direction of the lighting, combined with the brick fencing, will limit the ambient light emitted from the structure to approximately 100 feet.