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Central Point plans new water reservoir

CENTRAL POINT — Officials hope to build a 3-million-gallon reservoir adjacent to Don Jones Memorial Park to meet the city's water storage needs for the next 20 years.

The city plans public meetings on the reservoir, which will cost $5.5 million and be built next to the park off West Vilas Road. Brown and Caldwell engineers of Portland has been contracted for the project.

Matt Samitore, interim parks and public works director, said the project would require careful aesthetic design to ensure it is compatible with the park and the Oregon Fallen War Heroes Memorial there.

Recommended in a water master plan completed in 2009 to assess the city's current and future water needs, the project will be funded largely from a state Safe Water Revolving Loan Fund. The city's $1.5 million contribution has been used to purchase land for the facility and to ready the infrastructure. Engineering is expected to cost $798,929.

Samitore said public comment and design phases of the project would take six to eight months. Construction is expected to begin in July 2011.

Because of its size, the reservoir could be built any number of ways, from on top of the ground, to partially or completely buried with an observation deck or other park feature on top.

"It's going to come down to what people want and how much they want it incorporated with the park," Samitore said.

"A viewpoint is one idea, but there are several. We could wind up with a mini-hill with viewing platform at the top for folks to look out and see all the beautiful sites in the Rogue Valley or maybe just a hill. We have no cost estimates yet, but we'll be able to do some estimating once the public tells us what they want."

Council member Matt Stephenson said the city was committed to ensuring the project was acceptable to residents who live near the project site.

"The two biggest concerns for us, obviously, will be cost and that the project is aesthetically pleasing," Stephenson said.

A public comments and design meeting is planned at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, at City Hall, 140 S. Third St. A follow-up meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, in the same location. A survey will be sent out with November water bills for citizens to offer suggestions on how the reservoir should look.

Samitore said park neighbors would be notified via mail or by visits from city officials. Those not notified but who want to be included in correspondence can call 541-664-3321.

For information about the city's water-rate structure and current and future water needs, visit online at www.centralpointoregon.gov/dynamic.aspx?id=1680.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.