Holland seeks crowd for water tower talk


HOLLAND — With water tower upgrades looming and rate impacts to be determined, Holland Town Council members hope affected customers have a few minutes to spare this week.

President Tom Thacker says the council’s monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday will begin with a public hearing explaining the water tower situation. He hopes to have a room full of people at the 505 W. Main St. Town Hall as Holland looks to bolster its chances for grant assistance.

In letters sent to Stendal-area customers and in a social media post this week, Thacker sought to explain issues the Town of Holland has had the last 15 to 20 years with its little water tower at Church and Huntingburg streets on the east side of Stendal.

There have been a lot of leaks to repair and extensive work a few years ago even took the tower offline for a time. A big issue has been the tower’s diminutive size.

Holland has a 200,000-gallon water tower by Holland Elementary School but the Stendal tower is just 20,000 gallons. It resembles a small lollipop.

Although it was a hot summer Monday when Thacker talked about the Stendal tower, his focus was on what it is like during the dead of winter.

“It’s ball-shaped and only 20,000 (gallons), which is why it freezes up a lot,” Thacker said of the tower in Pike County’s Lockhart Township. “It’s not used much during the night in Stendal. It’s just so small that, when you get some super cold nights, it wants to freeze up. When it freezes, a little water cap on the top, it messes up our controls.

“On good, cold winters we struggle with that darn thing.”

Holland must constantly monitor the Stendal tower throughout the coldest part of the winter months so waterlines do not freeze and break.

After years of working with consultants and engineers, the Town of Holland knows its 200,000-gallon tower needs rehabilitation work estimated to cost $361,000. Thacker says that work should happen soon before things get worse — and more expensive.

Options for Stendal, which has been a part of Holland’s water system for more than 40 years, include making temporary fixes and seeing what the future holds or doing a like-new rehabilitation. But Thacker says that latter option is costly and would do nothing to address winter-freezing issues.

Holland’s preferred option at Stendal is to construct a new 50,000-gallon tower for about $456,000.

In addition to construction costs of $817,000 for two towers, Thacker estimates non-construction costs of $333,000 for a total project estimated of $1.15 million.

Thacker says the only way the Town of Holland can consider moving forward with such a project is to receive assistance in the form of a grant and a low-interest loan. Toward that end, Holland plans to seek funding assistance through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Thacker says water rates will need to rise but the size of the hike “will be determined by how much financial help we can get.”

Customers can learn about the town’s plans and voice concerns Wednesday. Having a room full of people to show how important the project and funding assistance for it will be could be noted in a grant application packet, according to Thacker.

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