Two new locations for a proposed water plant in Roswell were shown to the public Thursday night, June 14.
After hearing public feedback from two open house meetings in March, the city of Roswell changed the proposed location. In either scenario, the plant and water tank would still be in Waller Park, but would no longer back up to houses on Meadowood Drive. Instead, the two potential locations are:
- Next to the current water plant, close to Big Creek. Once the new plant is built, the old one would be torn down and replaced by a ball field.
- In the current parking lot of the Recreation & Parks Department, across the street from the ball fields. In this location, Dobbs Drive would be moved so that the plant is accessible. The road would separate the fields from the plant.
(See maps in the attached PDF)
Several residents said they liked the new locations better.
“It’s a vast improvement over what they were going to do,” said Laura Wiggins, who has lived on Meadowood Drive for more than 20 years. “The original option was going to back up to our neighborhood and look horrendous.”
She said she preferred a plan to keep the plant in its existing location because it’s farther from houses and ball fields. “It’s hidden and out of the way. It’s not so obvious. I don’t think it’s going to impact parkgoers or property values,” she said.
In previous plans, the new water plant and tank would have taken up a ball field next to Meadowood Drive. During meetings in March, many residents said they were opposed to the water tower, which could be 50 feet high, being in their backyard, said Roswell City Councilman Kent Igleheart.
Now, the tank will be in a more “industrial” part of the park and won’t affect the aesthetics of the ball fields or the adjacent neighborhoods, Igleheart said.
“Everybody can go through there without having to see the industrial part, and we think it makes the result really nice,” Igleheart said.
By building the plant across from ball fields, it would also open up an overlook to Big Creek – something that appeals to Roswell resident Richard Haskell.
“It opens up a scenic overlook possibility, and it’s in an area where there’s already industrial-looking space,” Haskell said.
A new water plant is needed for the city of Roswell because the current one is nearly 80 years old, is outdated and is in constant need of costly repairs, city officials say. City officials estimate they would save $11.6 million over 20 years by eliminating repair costs and providing Roswell’s own water, rather than buying water from Fulton County, which now costs about $500,000 a year.
To punctuate this point, Stu Moring, Director of Public Works, told Roswell residents who came to the meeting Thursday night that a valve stem just broke at the plant and will cost $40,000 to repair. Until it is fixed, the city is buying its water from Fulton County.
The proposed plant would cost $15.9 million and would be financed by a 20-year loan through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA). Because the city has a good financial rating, it could secure a low-interest loan. Right now, that interest rate is at 2.13 percent, Councilman Igleheart said.
The city estimates that savings over 20 years will cover 75 to 80 percent of the loan. Additionally, a water rate increase of $1 per month is being considered for the city’s 14,500 residential and business customers, according to city officials.
Roswell resident Seth Freedman said he was more concerned with the cost of the project than the location.
“They don’t really know what their costs are going to be,” he said. “But I’m very glad to see they’ve responded to public comment.”
He said he supports an increase in clean water resources, though.
Several residents expressed concern about a potential new road shown on the maps that would go from Grimes Bridge Road to Oak Street, creating a cut-through for cars between Route 9 and Grimes Bridge Road.
But Councilman Igleheart said that road is not part of the water plant project, and has not been decided upon.
Public feedback on the new plans will now be presented to the Roswell City Council. If you want to give feedback on the proposed water plant, you can contact the city of Roswell. For more information, go to roswellgov.com/waterplant.