Perrysburg votes to tear down water tower

PERRYSBURG, OH (Toledo News Now) - The City of Perrysburg says safer communities and more economic growth are the goals of its latest project.  Tonight council members voted unanimously to tear down an existing water tower and build two new ones.  The City Engineer says the proposal combines public safety with economic development.

Fire Chief Jeff Klein says his department relies on water towers, since engines don't hold enough water to completely put out fires.

"It enhances the safety for the public," Chief Klein said.  "And that's one of the things that we're here for.  You know, sometimes people forget we're here for them.  We're here to provide a service to them in their time of need.  And it helps us do our job better."

The project involves replacing the water tower on Fort Meigs Road and installing a new one behind the city's Public Service Building on Roachton Road.  Both would be larger, one million gallon towers; the current towers hold .5 million gallons.  The Fire Department says bigger towers are exactly what the growing community needs.

"When you look at the new construction that's going on, buildings are burning faster and they're burning hotter," Chief Klein said.  "Things that burn hotter, we need more water.  So they're staying ahead of the curve, so when we do have an unfortunate situation in town, we're able to address it."

City council members say the fire chief's safety concerns are directly linked to economic development.  They say the city saves money when they meet safety standards.

"We're staying ahead of EPA regulations that other communities in our area and across the country are getting in trouble with," council member Todd Grayson said.  "And by staying ahead of them, you avoid the fines, you avoid the penalties, you avoid the last-minute rush to get it fixed."

Grayson also believes improving infrastructure, like water towers, will boost the area's economy and make Perrysburg a more attractive place to live.  He says it's all about planning for the future.

"Instead of ignoring it or kicking the can down the road, we're taking costs on as they come," Grayson said.  "We're planning for the future, we're making our community attractive for future residents, for future industry and businesses to come in."