WEDDINGTON – After nearly seven years of deliberation about a site for the new Weddington water tower, town council members voted unanimously this week on a resolution in favor of putting it on Hemby Road.
The council voted 4-0 in support of the Hemby Road location behind the Providence Volunteer Fire Department instead of the Weddington Matthews Road location behind the Weddington Corners shopping center during their Monday, May 13, meeting. The resolution is non-binding, Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Barry said, and council’s opinion could change in the future depending on any additional information town leaders receive.
“The Union County Board of Commissioners passed a motion stating that the two sites were equivalent and they would like for (Weddington town council) to provide them with some preference,” Barry said. “… Based on the info we had at this time our preference would be to put it on the Hemby site, but we don’t hold ourselves bound to that decision.”
Before moving ahead with construction, Union County Public Works must go through the Weddington zoning process, which includes another public information meeting in addition to the meeting already held. No meetings will be scheduled until Public Works submits a formal zoning petition to the town, and residents have a chance to comment about the proposed locations.
According to Public Works Director Ed Goscicki, the water tower locations were chosen based on the need for higher pressure in the northern part of town and to help provide enough water to the growing population. Cost estimates for the Hemby Road location are around $375,000 for the 1.5 million-gallon tower, and the Weddington Matthews Road location could cost around $500,000. Both locations have willing property sellers, and the county has a 60-day option on the properties.
Many Weddington residents raised concerns about the two locations during the initial meeting with Public Works, but Goscicki said there was no better location between the two – only the least protested location. More than 20 of the 40 people present showed support for the Hemby Road site during the meeting with Public Works, with others supporting the Weddington Matthews Road site and the Kings Property site, which is no longer an option for the project.
Those in favor of the Hemby Road site did not want the tower disrupting the Weddington Corners shopping center or being the first thing seen when driving into town. The water tower will be around 180 feet tall regardless of the location, with the Hemby Road location being slightly shorter due to high elevation in that area.
Construction is not scheduled to begin until later this year, and the tower will take around a year and half to be completed and start functioning. Public Works has looked at projects 30 years out and says there should not be a need for another water tower during that time.
The Union County Board of Commissioners should discuss the Weddington water tower during their next meeting on Monday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at the Union County Government Center, 500 N. Main St. in Monroe.