Shady Cove is about to get treated water to the northwest part of town, which will serve 77 users in Shady Cove Mobile Home Park, bring more water to downtown and install more hydrants to protect against wildfires.
The 1,500 feet of pipe draws water directly from the nearby Rogue River, treats it and stores it in a tank above town, giving adequate pressure for the system, said Mike Koch, who manages the system, Shady Cove Water Works, while serving as regional president for its owner, AmericaWest Bank.
"Shady Cove relies on a lot of wells and private, small water districts and sometimes they're not adequate and have some degree of contaminants," said Koch. "We have abundant, high-quality water that is treated and chlorinated and we're putting in hydrants for fire suppression that will be close to the business district."
The extension of SCWW is being paid for by the bank and mobile home park owner Ernie Dodson, with no cost to the city, said Koch.
The SCWW originally was designed to be the water system for the entire town, but after the 2008 crash, it defaulted to the bank, scaled back and is on the market, said Mike Malepsy, a real estate broker and member of the SCWW Advisory Committee.
"The system is still for sale and they've got people looking at it," said Malepsy. "They realize they've got to expand it to make it more saleable. The city doesn't have the capital to buy it. It was $5 million. That's about what they have invested in it."
The price had been reduced to $2 million, according to a Mail Tribune story in 2012.
The system is able to store 500,000 gallons in its storage tank, said Malepsy, adding that SCWW serves only a small part of town, with 95 percent of residents still on wells or small community systems.
"The mobile home park was on wells but they decided it was best to get on this guaranteed delivery system and help pay for it," said Malepsy. "It's very exciting for the city to get movement on good, high-quality water and get some fire protection, too. This community really needs water."
Mayor Tom Anderson called the expansion "fabulous," adding, "I told the bank president we'd do anything to get it extended to this part of town. All we (the City Council) had to do was extend a right-of-way across Chaparral Drive and we did that. It will dramatically improve water service to downtown."
The mobile home park is located near Chaparral and Highway 62, just after the bridge over the Rogue.
Koch said about 800 feet of the 8-inch pipe was laid as of Thursday, while Malepsy said it should be done early next week, with inspections and final approval soon to follow.
John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at email@example.com.