The chances of a new water tower going up adjacent to Hamblen Park increased significantly Wednesday night.
During a special meeting Wednesday, the Spokane Public Schools board gave permission to allow the city of Spokane to include the Hamblen site on a list of three potential spots to be submitted for public comment during the next few weeks.
The results of the nonbinding survey will help determine the site of a new 100-foot-tall water tower that will serve residents south of 14th Avenue.
It’s unclear how much weight the survey will carry in the final decision. However, the school board will be able to see the results before potentially being asked to allow the construction of the water tower.
The proposed site sits in on district-owned land at 39th and Crestline, on the northeast corner of a parcel occupied by Hamblen Elementary School, and thus would require board approval
The other choices – whittled down from at least a dozen – are on city-owned land at 31st and Napa near the Touchmark assisted living facility, and on the site of an existing reservoir at Garden Park on 37th and Stone Street.
However, during a presentation to the school board two weeks ago, city officials made it clear they prefer the Hamblen location.
Kyle Twohig, director of engineering in the city’s Public Works Department, said the Hamblen location is cheaper and less disruptive to build, with flat terrain and easy access for heavy equipment needed to build the two-million gallon tower.
“It’s a great site for us and the water department,” Twohig said.
The $5 million cost would be borne by utility ratepayers.
Should the school district allow the water tower to be built on its land, it would presumably be compensated with city-owned land.
The city and district conducted several land swaps in conjunction with the 2018 capital bond that led to the construction of three new middle schools.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, the district held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Denny Yasuhara Middle School, which was made possible in part by the city giving up property at Perry and Marietta.
The city has recognized the need for a new South Hill tank to ensure adequate pressure during peak summer use and emergencies since at least 2008.
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