Projects are now in motion.
On Wednesday, representatives from the City of Brazil, Hannum, Wagle and Cline (HWC) Engineering, Terre Haute, Caldwell Tanks, Louisville, Ky., along with other officials and contractors stuck the first shovels in the ground in Craig Park, marking the start of construction on the new water tower.
"This is the beginning of a fresh start for the city," Mayor Ann Bradshaw told The Brazil Times. "However, there is still a lot of work ahead of us to be done."
The planning process for the projects began in November 2007 when the city sent out an income survey.
"We did the income survey with hopes of being able to qualify for a grant to do the projects," Bradshaw said. "(Brazil Planning Office Administrative Assistant) Elsie Hawkins did the leg work on the survey, which kick started everything."
Hawkins added, "In order to get the 400 surveys needed, we even had to go door-to-door."
Caldwell Tanks will be constructing the 750,000-gallon tower, which is one of five major projects included in plans to improve the city's water distribution system.
With winter only a few months away, progress will be a bit limited.
"Our goal is to have the foundation completed before winter comes, then come back in early March to start working on the pedestal," Caldwell Senior Project Manager Mat Daoust said. "It's not wise to pour concrete, which is what the pedestal will be constructed of, in cold weather because it can create flaws in the structure, which is why spring is a better time to do that."
HWC Professional Engineer/City Engineer Brian Pohlar told The Brazil Times Caldwell will fabricate the parts for the tank itself during the winter months.
Depending on weather conditions, the tower is anticipated to be completed within 12-15 months.
For Common Council of the City of Brazil member Brad Deal, who lives in the shadows of the current tower on Vandalia Street, the new tower will be a more than welcome sight.
"People ask me all the time if I've seen the condition of the tower and I tell them, 'I do. Every morning when I get up and look out my kitchen window,'" Deal said about the tower, which was built in 1956. "This new tower will be a boost to the town itself and I think the community as a whole will be glad to see the old one go."
Another city official expressed gratitude for the determination to finally make this a reality.
"The mayor has been great in spearheading this," Brazil Water Superintendent Jake Raubuch told The Brazil Times. "This new tower has been a long-time coming and it's like a prayer has been answered."
Raubuch, who has worked for the Water Department nearly 25 years, added he is looking forward to all the improvements, not just the tower.
"I am thrilled to death to see all these projects get legs," he said. "The old control system was installed in 1994 and the new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system will be a major improvement, along with all the hydrant, meter and line replacements."
While a pre-construction meeting was conducted Wednesday afternoon to iron out the final specifics on the schematics, work on other projects should start fairly quickly.
"In the next couple of weeks, there will be a crew out to install 1,000 new radio-read water meters," Raubuch said. "Those could all be in within a month of starting the work."
Deal added this work is what the residents have wanted to see for so many years.
"In the past couple years, we have raised water and wastewater rates with these goals in mind," he said. "The residents have needed to see these projects get off the ground, and now, we have finally started."
According to Daoust, the composite tank being constructed at Craig Park has a slightly higher initial cost compared to other styles, but could provide major savings in the future.
"With a concrete pedestal, which is common on composite tanks, there is virtually no cost for maintenance in the long term," he told The Brazil Times. "For the most part, the only maintenance that has to be done on this style of tank is keeping the steel tank in good shape and repainting it."
While Raubuch praised Bradshaw's conviction to see the projects through, she quickly turned the focus to everyone involved.
"Yes, I wanted to see this happen for the city and its residents, but there were so many more people who played an integral role," she said. "Everyone jumped on board and helped in any way they could, whether it be providing construction expertise or helping secure the funding, this truly was a total team effort."
Through a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs ($2,222,872) and a State Revolving Fund Loan ($5,930,000), the City of Brazil has more than $8.15 million available for the Water System Improvement Projects. The following is a breakdown of the five divisions of projects, the company doing the work and how much their bid was:
* Division A (Water Distribution System) -- B & T Drainage and Excavating, Marshall, Ill., $2,301,327.70
* Division B (Well field) -- M.K. Betts Engineering and Contracting, Anderson, Ind., $387,200,
* Division C (Interstate-70 water tower) -- Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, Avon, Ind., $696,938,
* Division D (Craig Park water tower) -- Caldwell Tanks, Louisville, Ky., $1,574,000, and
* Division E (New booster station/SCADA system) -- Engineered Fluid, Inc., Centralia, Ill., $491,554.