New water tower in the works for Charleston, Tenn.

New water tower in the works for Charleston, Tenn.

February 19th, 2012 Paul Leach/Correspondent in News

Dozens of vultures perch on a water tower in this file photo.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

CHARLESTON, Tenn. - City officials have voted to move forward with plans to build a bigger city water tank.

The Charleston City Commission at its last meeting agreed to pursue $500,000 in community development grant funds so Calhoun-Charleston Utilities can buy a 350,000-gallon concrete water tank. The city must provide matching funds of $273,000.

The tank will alleviate water-supply problems and better meet state water regulations, Charleston Mayor Walter Goode said.

With the grant, the cost of the larger tank compared favorably with the cost of maintaining Charleston's existing 200,000-gallon metal tank, according to a presentation given in December by Calhoun-Charleston Utility board member Philip Shelton. The lowest bid to sandblast and repaint the old tank was $192,000, according to Shelton.

City officials also said they were planning to make improvements to the city park, but that may take some time and possibly grant money.

City Recorder Janet Newport said she had met with state regulators about updating the park to current safety standards and making it compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. Accessibility would require the park to have a paved or concrete walk to its playground and restroom facilities, she said.

"It's time to upgrade the park anyway," said Goode, who noted that its last makeover was more than 20 years ago. "That park is used every day. That's a draw to our town."

In regard to proposed annexation plans, officials said Tuesday that those remain under review by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, a state consulting agency for local governments.

Goode said he hoped to have the plans before the March City Commission meeting so public hearings can begin.

The initial phase of Charleston's annexation plans encompass an area near Charleston Elementary School and will include 272 residents, according to statements Goode made in an earlier meeting. The annexation will move the city's population of 651 closer to 1,000, he said, making it eligible for more municipal grants.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.