Public support helps Holland land water tower grant

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After receiving word that their bid for a $600,000 grant was successful, the Town of Holland is now putting out bids for the rehab needs of the 200,000-gallon water tower in Holland and replacement of the smaller, 20,000-gallon tower in Stendal that dates to 1960.

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

HOLLAND — The Town of Holland received word Thursday it will receive a $600,000 grant to use toward rehabilitating one water tower and completely replacing another.

Town Council President Tom Thacker said support shown by Holland- and Stendal-area customers strengthened the grant application that allowed Holland to be one of eight projects funded by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which had received 17 applications in the drinking water grant program open to low-to-moderate income communities.

Thacker has been a town councilman for more than 30 years and says he’s accustomed to it taking two or three rounds to eventually get a grant — if one is awarded at all. The Town of Holland is getting the water storage tank grant — the $600,000 for construction is the maximum allowed — on its first try.

Holland put the word out that it hoped to have a room full of people at a Town Hall public hearing in July explaining the water tower situation, and that is just what it got. During that hearing, Thacker told attendees that Holland’s application would be boosted if residents, especially those in the Stendal area, would submit short letters citing the need for the project.

Thacker said 44 letters of support were received from people in Holland, Stendal and points in between.

“To me, that’s a big part of it,” Thacker said of the letters included in the application package. “We’re thrilled with it.”

Now comes the process of getting the money and putting out bids for the rehab needs of the 200,000-gallon water tower in Holland and replacement of the smaller, 20,000-gallon tower in Stendal that dates to 1960.

Stendal’s tower has been repaired many times over the years, and was out of commission for a month in the fall of 2014. A costly rehabilitation is out of the question, because the globe-shaped tower is so small it starts freezing in the coldest part of winter.

The Holland water tower near the elementary school needs to be repainted after pits and seams are addressed and a new ladder installed. It was last painted 15 years ago. The rehabilitation work is estimated to cost $389,000.

Stendal’s tower has been repaired many times over the years, and was out of commission for a month in the fall of 2014. A costly rehabilitation is out of the question, because the globe-shaped tower is so small it starts freezing in the coldest part of winter.

Holland’s preferred option at Stendal is to construct a new 50,000-gallon tower for about $428,000. The old one would remain in use until the modern replacement is ready to go online.

Thacker points out that the Lockhart Township Community Club has donated land north of the existing Stendal tower for its replacement, so that is one more thing in place that can hasten construction. He said he would hope to have construction start by the spring.

In addition to construction and rehabilitation costs topping $800,000 for the towers, non-construction costs of $315,000 make for a total project of $1.13 million.

The remaining $532,000 that’s needed will come from a low-interest State Revolving Fund loan.

Thacker said Holland’s water storage tank issues must be addressed and water bills will inevitably head north as a result. But, he added, the grant is going to allow the hike to be kept in check.

Holland’s utility bills include a charge for water and a charge for sewer. Thacker is hopeful the increase in the water rate shown on a Holland bill can be kept below 20 percent. Without the grant, that rate could have gone up by 38 percent to pay for the tower project.

“We knew this was a dire situation, especially with the shape of the Stendal tower and the condition of the Holland one — the direction it was heading if something didn’t happen soon — so we worked it very hard, I think,” Thacker said. “It paid off.”




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