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Council agrees to selling city water to Pamelia water district

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The Watertown City Council unanimously agreed Monday night to sell city water to a town of Pamelia water district for the planned 88-acre industrial park on outer Bradley Street proposed by Purcell Construction Corp.

On Monday night, city Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said he changed his mind about selling water directly to the construction company and forgoing a water district because he thought the village of Glen Park could end up getting involved in the industrial park project.

In November, Purcell announced plans for the park with railroad access and space for up to 20 businesses on 88 acres of commercial land off outer Bradley Street at Interstate 81. The company bought the land Oct. 3 from Pyramid Cos., Syracuse, for $1.25 million. Only about 7 acres of the proposed industrial park are in the city, while the remaining land is in Pamelia.

During an unrelated meeting last week, city officials learned from James W. Wright, CEO of the Development Authority of the North Country, that Pamelia approached DANC about Glen Park becoming an alternative water source since the city was unwilling to go the water district route, city Water Superintendent Michael J. Sligar said Tuesday.

On Monday night, the mayor said he did not want Glen Park to “back door” a deal and bring water to the city line, so he figured it was better for the city to pursue the water district concept.

Quoting lyrics from the Kenny Rogers song “The Gambler,” he said, “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them.”

Councilman Joseph M. Butler Jr. said he supported selling it through a water district “all along.”

Previously, the mayor tried unsuccessfully to get Purcell to agree to the city annexing the portion of the industrial park in the town of Pamelia.

Two weeks ago, the other council members also expressed reservations about getting involved in a water district, saying they opposed forming a district to serve just a single user.

Richard R. Gefell, Purcell’s project manager, said Tuesday he was aware of the city’s plans to supply a water district.

“We’re pleased with their decision,” he said, adding that engineering work for the district must be completed before a groundbreaking for the industrial park would start later this year.

City and town officials also must “sit down and talk” about what entity would pay for the new water line that would be installed for the industrial park, Mr. Gefell said.

Pamelia Supervisor Lawrence C. Longway declined to comment Tuesday.

On Monday, City Manager Sharon A. Addison received a memo from the state Department of Health that urged the city to provide the Purcell project with water, calling the city “the obvious supplier.”

In a March 14 memo to the council, Mr. Sligar wrote that the city could provide Purcell with water by tying it into an existing 10-inch water main on Bradley Street, continuing through the industrial park and then connecting it to an 8-inch line on the other side.

He described that scenario as “superior,” since only a 2-inch line would be used with the Glen Park connection.

In December, Purcell announced it also wants to construct a 10-building business park on 30 acres off outer Washington Street in front of Summit Wood apartments.

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