Water tower in Westgate set for demolition

By Sandi Latimer
Staff Writer

The eastern water tower in Westgate Park is slated for demolition next year, and will be replaced by a tower that can hold double the amount of water.

Philip Schmidt, an engineer at the Columbus Division of Water, told the Greater Hilltop Area Commission on Dec. 6 that work to demolish the tower built around the 1930s will begin early in the new year.

“It’s becoming hard to maintain,” said Schmidt of the tower that holds one million gallons of water. The eastern tower also holds one million gallons. The new tower will be capable of holding two million gallons, meaning the two towers will have a capacity of three million gallons of water.

“Replacing the other tower is not on the horizon,” Schmidt said in response to questions from commissioners and the audience.

He also talked about the city putting in a new pumping station on West Mound Street near the railroad tracks. The current station “has the oldest booster station in the city and we can’t get parts for it,” he said.

The city has purchased a lot on the other side of West Mound Street where the booster station will be built to house the pump.

Another city leader told the commission about the status of body cameras for police officers.
Public Safety Director Ned Pettus said paperwork had been signed to start purchasing 1,875 cameras. An eight-part phase-in program will begin early in the new year and by the end of 2017, the city hopes to have 1,432 of the 1,900-member force equipped with the cameras. The remaining cameras will be set aside in reserve.

The first group to get the cameras will be the traffic patrol officers. Then come the bicycle patrol, recruits, second-shift patrol, day/night mid-watch, third-shift-patrol, first-shift patrol, and SWAT.

“Officers will be able to turn the cameras on at the first opportunity,” Pettus said. “They can turn them off in certain circumstances, such as to preserve dignity and things that should not be of public record.”

New member

Commissioners chose James Groves as the new member of the Hilltop Commission. Grove is a lifetime resident of the Hilltop, with 10 years as an electrician but now with a bachelor’s degree business administration and an MBA in school management, owns a small consulting firm.

It took two voice-vote ballots to elect him to a seat that expires at the end of June 2017. Groves, Jack Schultz and former commissioner Keith Chaldis were vying for the seat.

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