The City of Winchester is planning on taking care of a major safety issue on the outskirts of town, off of South Main Street. The old water treatment plant has become a major eyesore and safety concern for citizens, according to Utility Superintendent John Simmons.
Simmons says that the major concern lies with curious kids who snow sled on the hills at the site in the winter time and who have been spotted throwing debris into the 20 foot deep pits left by the old wells: “It was an older type water facility. A lot of our pits that we used to use for the water to settle out in and stuff, they are in really bad shape and we are not using them anymore. We are wanting to get those filled in and leveled off to the ground. We’ve got partial fence around it but I’m worried about kids getting over the fence and getting in there and getting hurt. It’s grown up a lot in trees and weeds. There’s just a lot of debris sitting around. I think it would be a plus to the city to have it cleaned up and looking nice. The tower is the only thing that is really still in use. We have an old building out there that was built years ago and it’s kind of a historical site for as old as our water system. Just really want to clean it up, level it off, and make it look nice.”
Simmons says that it would be a good place to possibly put a park in the near future once things are cleaned up: “It sets on a hill side, and part of the hillside has kind of caved in and took some of the fence along with it. We’ve got a lot of dirt and things that we have hauled out there over the years in hopes of leveling it off. We have just been waiting for the time to do it. Lots of kids in the area go out there in the winter time and sled ride and everything. If we can slope it all off and get it all cleared off with access to the road, it’s going to be a nice site. We just had the water tower repainted a couple of years ago. If we can get the whole thing looking nice, it would just be a nice setting for the city.”
The old water plant building dates to 1914 and will be spared in the demolition and fill-in project. Some city utility equipment is still stored at the building. The City of Winchester accepted the bid of $7,310 by Jerry Moore at their city council meeting on July 1st to demolish the large concrete tanks and level off the holes at the site within the next several weeks.