On Thursday, residents held a community meeting with the Orem City Council and Public Works Department on options for the location of a 10-million gallon water tank.
Much has happened in the five days between those meetings and Tuesday’s council work session.
Residents in the Community Park Neighborhood are concerned the water tank, which would be submerged 20 feet underground, will not only disturb their parkland for up to three years of construction, but also will take out several mature trees surrounding the park.
Another concern was the city purchasing a home in the adjacent cul-de-sac to be torn down with another building featuring a house-like facade to be built to house a pump station and well access.
At the Thursday meeting, it appeared there might be other options including a 5-acre orchard owned by the Farley family on 400 South and 400 West.
The city, which tried property negotiations on other occasions, started discussions again with the owners, but the request to purchase was set by the owner at $850,000 an acre.
The city believes their appraisal would come in lower than that. The owner wrote a letter saying it is the seller’s right to set the price regardless of the appraisal.
After hearing that, the city council unanimously voiced its desire to end discussions on the property.
“It is not appropriate for the city to pay more than the appraised price,” said Mayor Richard Brunst.
That leaves the council with the original park property, which the city owns, and possibly two other locations west of the elementary school that are baseball diamonds and fields for football practice, soccer, lacrosse and used for other play for Mountain View High School students. That school is just north of the baseball fields.
Discussions have been started with the Alpine School District, which owns one of the properties, to see if there are any viable options, and where teams could play and practice during construction.
“Conversations with Superintendent (Shane) Farnsworth have been positive,” said Brenn Bybee, assistant city manager.
Chris Tschirki, Public Works director, told the council, “I hope you get a sense of Thursday’s meetings and that this is not simple.”
As for the home in the cul-de-sac, the city has an offer on the home and had approximately 45 days to decide. The property owner was amiable to extend it knowing the conundrum the city is currently facing with the multiple locations. All of those locations would still use the home footprint for a new pumphouse.
It appears the next moves will be discussions and options with the school district and if that does not pan out, residents will have to understand that the original park will be the location for the much-needed water storage tank.
There are some advantages for the residents in the end. The water pressure will be better and the park will be completely upgraded with new trees planted.