MILFORD — Milford Redevelopment Commission met Monday, Aug. 8, to hear Jon Borgers, a project manager from Wessler Engineering, give his thoughts on possible upgrades to the town’s water tower. In the end, the commission chose to contribute $42,450 to cover the expense of capital improvements related to Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements.
The commission had hoped to find a way to get increased water pressure to land north and northeast annexed for industrial development. “The issue is it’s a hill,” stated Borgers. Two primary options for overcoming the topography are to build a new tower — “any big industrial development would want a tower,” said Borgers — and raising the existing Milford water tower 40 feet. As the first is significantly more expensive, the commission had hoped raising the tower would be feasible.
Unfortunately, according to both Borgers and Steve Marquart, acting utilities superintendent, the increased pressure — 17 pounds per square inch — posed significant threats to existing infrastructure. Marquart cited the possibility of “multiple leaks” in a system with water mains as small as 2 and 4 inches, some with lead joints. There would also be the problem of those mains achieving the volume necessary for water protection in the annexed areas.
A third option was also discussed: A booster station. Dan Brown, commission president, called it “the most flexible alternative,” which can be built upon in the event of a development, a stopgap during the one to two years needed to build a new tower and related service. As Marquart noted, “It’s not a ‘we build it they’ll come’ … there’s no guarantee.”
As for the existing tower’s renovation, Brown was clear in his opposition to the commission sharing expenses for which Milford’s utilities bills its customers, such as preventative maintenance, which may run around $126,760.
OSHA requirements, however, are considered capital improvements benefitting not only the town but the TIF districts as well. The commission members voted to cover those expenses, totalling $42,450.
Next month, the commission hopes to hear from Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation president George Robertson on efforts to attract businesses to northeast Indiana. A meeting for Sept. 12 was tentatively scheduled.