Butterfly Lane Water Tower Could Be Dismantled

It would be replaced with a larger structure located on the Hargett Farm property.


Frederick, Md (KM). The iconic structure has been around for 44 years, but the City of Frederick is looking at dismantling the water tower along Butterfly Lane, and replacing it with a 1-million gallon facility.

The Board of Aldermen on Wednesday were presented with a proposal to build the new tower across the street on the Hargett Farm property. Leita Bennett with the firm of GHD recommended the water tower be replaced. She said rehabilitating the structure which holds  750,000 gallons of water would be costly in the long run, especially when it comes to maintenance. “To go into the extra 250,000 gallons would also allow you to reduce when you have to put in another tank in that area for at least 20 years,” she said.

Bennett told elected officials that keeping the current tank would be labor intensive to coat, recoating could be uneven, inspections would be intensive and costly,  and there would be no additional storage capacity. “It would eliminate possibly your potential of having to do another tank 20 years out as that area continues to grow. Eventually, there will need to be some additional capacity in that area. This will help you avoid that,” she said.

Alderman Josh Bokee said he supports the new water tank. “A million-gallon new tank option I think makes the most sense in terms of building for the long term which is what I think we need to do,” he said.

His colleague, Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, said the new tank is a good idea, but she was concerned about aesthetics of the new tower. “Those aesthetics do matter, especially on this site because I truly look at this site as a serious economic engine for this end of town, and I want to make sure we don’t do something that’s going to harm that,” she said.

The city is planning to use part of the Hargett Farm property as a park.

Bennett pointed out that when the old tower comes down, the city will need to work with communications companies which have antennas on top of the facility. “They’ve got a lot of their equipment already out there. It’s a matter of relocating their equipment. It’s not the first time they’ve been asked to do it I’m doing it on seven other tanks,” she says. “They’re not happy. They don’t like it. But they know getting a spot on top of a tank is lot easier than trying to get a tower somewhere that suits everybody.”

Keith Brown, Assistant Director of Operations, said a monopole could be installed at the site of the old tower, along with antennas on the new facility. He also said a salt dome could be placed there as well.

According to a report from GHD, the capital cost for rehabilitation the existing tank is $2.6-million. But the capital cost for a new tank is $3.6-million. It also says the cost per gallon to keep the current tower is $4.80, and the cost per gallon of building a new structure is $2.68 per gallon.

No date has been set for construction of a new tower or the dismantling of the old structure. But when the work begins, Bennett says the old tower would remain in operation until the new one is completed. She says dismantling the structure would take about six hours.

The Board said it wanted GHD to come back with a proposal to build a new tower on the Hargett Farm property, and take down  the current facility on Butterfly Lane.


By Kevin McManus