New water towers going up in St. Mary’s -- Gazette.Net


A never-used water tower that sits at Myrtle Point Park could be moved to Charlotte Hall, and a massive water tower in California is scheduled for replacement by a larger one.

The water tower currently behind the Hickory Hills shopping center holds 650,000 gallons of water, at a height of 125 feet, Dave Masteller, assistant engineer for the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission, told the county planning commission Monday night. The commission approved both towers.

To serve a growing community in California, Great Mills and Lexington Park, the new water tower will hold 2 million gallons at a height of 147 feet.

“The water towers will be side by side until the existing one is removed,” said Dave Berry, planner with the St. Mary’s County Department of Land Use and Growth Management.

The existing tower at Hickory Hills is steel and sits on several legs. The replacement tower is a composite of a steel bowl on a concrete base. “It will be fatter” than the existing tower, Masteller said.

The Charlotte Hall water tower is to be placed off Golden Beach Road, next to the state’s Charlotte Hall Park and Ride lot, now under construction.

The water tower will hold between 300,000 and 400,000 gallons and stand about 130 feet tall, Masteller said.

The tower will serve the Charlotte Hall town center and provide improved fire protection, MetCom’s budget states. “Currently, the only available water for public fire protection is owned by the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. This tower is at the extreme southern end of our service area with the majority of growth occurring at the northern end of the town center,” according to MetCom.

There are several ground storage tanks for water in the area, Masteller said, and one of them was damaged during an earthquake last year.

With concept site plan approval for the towers, MetCom will bid out the work next year. The Charlotte Hall tower bids should go out in the spring, said David Elberti, MetCom’s chief engineer.

The contractor will have the option of using the old water tower at Myrtle Point Park if it is economically feasible. “Recreation and parks has agreed that can be used,” Elberti said. “It is structurally sound.”

The tower at the Patuxent River waterfront park, visible from the Gov. Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge, would have to be taken down, sandblasted and repainted and then relocated to Charlotte Hall.

The Myrtle Point water tower has a capacity of 300,000 gallons and was never used. It was erected in preparation for a waterfront complex of homes and a golf course. That development never started after the developer, John McNamara, pleaded guilty in 1992 to defrauding General Motors of $6 billion. His assets were seized by the federal government, which in turn gave St. Mary’s County government the option to buy 192 acres at Myrtle Point. The county bought the land for $1.75 million in 1997. The water tower sat there all the while.

MetCom’s budget for the Hickory Hills water tower is about $4.8 million and the bids should go out later in 2013, Elberti said. The budget for the Charlotte Hall tower is $1.1 million. There is another MetCom project to erect a water tower in Hollywood, but that will come under a planning commission review later.