GLADSTONE - The Gladstone City Commission approved construction of a reservoir at the Gladstone Sports Park during a special meeting held Monday morning.
The reservoir will be used to provide water for the ski hill's three snow guns. Currently the guns are powered by city water, however, because the city water must be kept at a warmer temperature for use throughout the city, the snow guns do not run at an optimal level until temperatures outside are at or below 18 degrees. Water in the reservoir will be naturally cooler than city water, causing the guns to run more efficiently.
"We want to be open and fully operational by the Christmas season," said City Manager Darla Falcon.
The city estimates that consistent snow on the ski hill by Christmas could increase the sports park's revenue by 30 percent. The total estimated cost of constructing the reservoir is $36,300 for excavation, effluent control structure and piping, engineering, planning, and a ten percent contingency.
The commission approved applying for a Hannahville 2 percent grant for $86,710 for the project. If received, the city would modify the plan to include extending piping from the reservoir under North Bluff Drive to the ball field to provide water for the field's irrigation at an estimated cost equal to the grant.
"We do have an irrigation system at the ball field, but again, it's city water," said Falcon
If the city does not receive the funding from the Hannahville Indian Community, the city will follow the $36,300 plan and will fund the project using money from the general fund. The commission considered using money from the city's electric fund - specifically interest paid to the city from its investment in the American Transmission Co. project bringing transmission lines and substations through parts of the Upper Peninsula - to fund the reservoir project. However, the commission chose not to use the ATC money for the project.
Upgrades to the ball field or the creation of a new ball field at the sports park are being considered, and if the Hannahville money is not secured by the city, the irrigation system infrastructure will be reconsidered during the later phases of those projects.
"If you're doing a reservoir to have water for the ski hill and you're going to need to have the irrigation at the ball field, why not do the infrastructure for that at the same time?" asked Falcon.
Once the city knows if the grant money is available for the project, construction is expected to begin as soon as possible.
"We want this reservoir dug ASAP so we can fill it," said Falcon.