Engineering report says Cary should save Maynard Road water tank

aspecht@newsobserver.comJuly 3, 2014 

The graduating high school class is honored each year on the water tower on Maynard Road, across from Cary High.

FILE PHOTO

  • If you go

    Cary will host a public workshop about future plans for the water tower on Maynard Road near Cary High School from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at Town Hall, 316 N. Academy St.

— Engineers hired by the town say Cary should save the water tower on Maynard Road across from Cary High School.

The town hired environmental engineering firm Hazen and Sawyer in September to study options for expanding water storage capacity in central Cary.

Town leaders are considering demolishing the 47-year-old tower, which is known for honoring the senior class with painted numbers of the graduating year. Residents have rallied to save the water tower to keep the tradition in place.

It would cost about $2.7 million more in the long run to demolish the tower than to continue using it for water storage, according to a highly anticipated report recently completed by engineers.

“(W)hen considering varying scenarios ... (additional) storage and maintenance of the existing Maynard Tank remains favorable from a cost perspective,” according to the report.

The tower’s use as a cellphone antenna could be its saving grace.

Cary currently collects $150,000 a year from cellphone providers who use the tower. The town stands to lose $3.4 million in revenues over the next 30 years if the tower is demolished, according to the report.

Cary staff will examine the report before making a recommendation to the Town Council, which will likely consider the issue at its July 17 meeting.

It’s unclear what staff members think of the report’s recommendation, said Dave Hallgren, an engineer for the town.

Councilman Don Frantz said he doubted the council would veer from the report’s recommendations.

“That thing is a huge part of the community and speaks a lot about our values,” he said of the tower. “I’d love to keep it.”

Cary plans to present the results of the report to the public in a workshop at Town Hall from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday. Residents can provide feedback that Cary staff will deliver to council before it takes action.

Some who have sought to preserve the tower are already celebrating the engineering firm’s findings.

Jeanna Benoy, whose online petition to save the tower gathered 1,800 signatures, received praise after posting the report on Facebook.

“Where’s the freaking love button?” Patti Foster Clapper wrote, referring to the site’s “like” button. “Good job everyone!”

Benoy, who graduated from Cary High in 1972, said the tower boasts too much history to be demolished.

She noted that the tradition of painting the tower to commemorate each graduating class started in 1957.

“There’s all kinds of stories that come with that water tower,” she said. “The possibility of the town becoming the villains in the story was rather large.”

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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