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Cotulla mayor touts benefits for new development
A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week for construction of a new water tower serving the east side of Cotulla at a cost of $1.43 million through a loan and grant program approved more than five years ago.
The city secured its financial assistance for the water system improvements from the Texas Water Development Board in 2015. Since that time, a number of projects have been undertaken with funds provided by the state, some of them to be repaid over time. They have included water line replacement and installation of new water mains.
Building a new water tower will be one of the largest components of the overall water system improvement project, and Mayor Javier Garcia describes the development as vital for the development of new properties on the east side of the city.
The new 200,000-gallon water tower will stand 150 feet tall and marks the first such construction for Cotulla in nearly 30 years. The city presently has two water towers, the older dating to 1915, situated adjacent to the La Salle County Courthouse downtown; the more recent from the early 1990s overlooking west-side neighborhoods at North Cherokee Avenue. Ground-level water storage tanks have been built for the city’s water since the Cherokee tower was erected, among them 500,000-gallon tanks that have helped the city maintain its water pressure and lower the end-use temperature of the well water, which can exceed 108 degrees in summer.
City Hall reported this week that its new tower will be built at the City Yard beside the La Salle County Fairgrounds, where it will overlook Hwy 97 and be positioned close to real estate primed for development along the new Cotulla truck bypass loop. It is being built without a new well beneath, but will be connected to the city’s 12” water lines that serve neighborhoods on the east side of town and will become part of the city’s water main loop, thereby helping equalize pressure and maintain adequate water supply for the entire community, according to City Hall.
City water department engineer David Wright said on Monday that he believes neighborhoods affected by water service outages will see fewer shortages when the third tower is completed, as it will help provide a supply “in the event that any one of the other towers is out of action.”
“It’s always a good thing to have something like that,” Mayor Garcia said of the new tower improving the city’s water pressure. “This will give us better pressure and faster flow. Basically, what this does is give the people what they’ve needed for a long time, namely equal water pressure for everyone, instead of some areas having nothing but a faucet drip.
“We are going to accomplish that, and we will meet the requirements of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which mandates this kind of service improvement,” the mayor said. “It’s also important that we provide the fire hydrant water pressure that is required to serve the city as a whole.”
Mayor Garcia added that he believes the new tower will become a prominent and significant signal that Cotulla is priming itself for new development in the acreage between the La Salle County Fairgrounds and the truck bypass loop.
“We are looking to attract developers to the area, with commercial and industrial development to the north and residential development to the south of the loop,” Garcia said. “We expect to talk with developers of homes ranging in price from $80,000 to $150,000. Any development in the area of the new loop will require adequate water pressure for all types of commercial and residential connections, and fire hydrants, and we will have new connections for additional hangar space and service demands at the airport.
“This tower is very much needed by the people of Cotulla, today and in the future,” Mayor Garcia said. “It will serve us well and keep us in readiness.”
The mayor added that the tower’s proximity to the Cotulla High School campus on Hwy 97 has prompted councilors to consider painting the school district’s ‘Cowboy’ silhouette logo on the new elevated water tank and that negotiations are already underway with a custom painter for the job.
“Building something like this is important for the city’s infrastructure,” the mayor said, “but it’s also a symbol of the city’s success and of its pride.”