Orem residents living in the Community Park neighborhood met in two separate meetings Thursday to discuss the proposed 10 million gallon water tank to be submerged in the park with city leaders.
Discussion surrounding the need for the multi-million dollar project started approximately 15 years ago. Now, by law, there must be a new tank to give Orem the water storage necessary for any water emergency.
According to city professionals, the tank should be located as close as possible to 400 South — between 400 and 600 West — for best use and cost effectiveness.
A portion of Community Park has been identified by city officials as the least expensive location since it is already owned by the city. It is close to 400 South where the water is gravity fed westward.
Pipes associated with the tank will be larger and the water pressure will be greater for residents. Eventually, the water pipes on 400 South will be taken west to Geneva Road.
There are a number of other potential areas for submerging the water tank. One area includes under the baseball fields, adjacent to the park and south of the Orem Fitness Center. Another location is property owned by the Farley family, which could be the long-term optimal spot at 400 West and 400 South.
In the past few years, city officials have approached the Farley family, as recent as the beginning of this year, and have received a no answer on purchasing property.
Now, with the water tank appearing to be certain at the park, neighbors have approached the Farley family, and it appears the city is giving it another try.
“The city has reached out,” Water Division Manager Neal Winterton said. “We have begun opening dialogue, and an appraisal on the property has been requested.”
Mayor Richard Brunst told those joining in the meeting, “I would not be interested in buying the Farley property.”
It appears others on the council may have the same feelings.
The Farley property is just over 5 acres, and the city would only need a portion of that, leaving the existing home and land for the Farley family. The current orchard, which exists on about 3.5 acres of their property, would be purchased if the city decided to go that direction.
More than 90 residents joined the 7 p.m. Zoom meeting Thursday to ask questions and to speak with members of the City Council and city leadership. There were many questions posed about the items, including the preservation of the aged shade trees that line the park.
According to Chris Tschirki, those trees would mostly need to be taken out, but new ones — much younger trees — would replace them.
The tank would be submerged 20 feet below the surface with the park being replaced to the same or better level of ambiance and landscaping.
The majority of the questions from the public centered on a home the city has put a $650,000 offer on in a cul-de-sac abutting the park. The home is to be taken out and replaced on the same 40-foot-by-80-foot footprint with a pump house and well.
The exterior of the building would look like a nice home, matching the style of the other homes in the cul-de-sac, with the pump house and access to the well inside.
Residents asked if the pump house would make noise and if there would be chlorine or other chemicals that could affect the residents.
As for sound coming from the pump house, Tschirki said there is some pump noise but added that the building and windows would be twice as thick as in an average building and very little if any sound would be heard.
The water in the tank is chlorinated by tablets, according to Tschirki, and there is no smell, liquids or gases that would reach the outside of the pump house into the neighborhood.
After the discussion, however, some neighbors are still pressing for the purchase of the Farley property or another location further away from the park.
Kelly Warnick, who lives in the Community Park neighborhood, offered several reasons why the Farley property would be a first choice for the neighbors:
- Partial use of the Farley property for residential lots will recoup on the investment for the property and add revenue from 13 residential properties over the years.
- It could provide additional green space and walking paths for the neighboring area on the south of 400 South.
- There would be easier access to pump house.
- There would be no disruption of the Orem Community Park neighborhood that has already been disrupted for a long time with the Recreation Center and high school construction.
Similar concerns were brought up during the discussion.
Now, the council will discuss their options during the council work session, which begins at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Discussion surrounding the water tank is scheduled for the first 30 minutes of the meeting.