The city of Waco is set to purchase a 10-acre tract of land near the Cameron Park entrance to expand its water facilities.

The city council on Tuesday approved the $1.6 million deal with Dwyer Investments Ltd. for the property at 200 and 201 Tennessee Ave., which extends downhill to University Parks Drive.

The Riverside Water Treatment Plant, which serves about 30 percent of the system capacity, is expected to see a new pump station, ground storage and administration building for the water department.

“This opportunity certainly would close out what looks like a doughnut hole between the Riverside facility, the park and the zoo,” Assistant City Manager Bradley Ford said. “It’s all under city ownership in some way, shape or form. It does provide a lot of continuity along the river, which I think will be helpful long term because our interests are keeping the water system at more than adequate, but keeping the public lands along the river appropriately developed.”

The $1.6 million for the property is available in the water utility surplus fund, city leaders said.

Dwyer Investments bought the property in 2012 from American Legion Post 121 when it moved to Elm Mott. The city of Waco had offered the American Legion $300,000 for a seven-acre portion of the property in 2011, but American Legion officials said balked, saying the property was worth much more.

Ford said the purchase approved Tuesday is tied to Waco’s continued growth and will not harm the integrity of 400-acre Cameron Park.

“As Waco’s growing, it’s an ideal spot to look at improvements at the Riverside plant, and those are going to take obviously some property to do, whether its pumps or storage,” Ford said. “It’s an ideal spot to add to our land there because without this additional acreage, we would not be able to expand as we need to. … Cameron Park is too much of a jewel to impact negatively.”

The city is working on a 30-inch water line connecting the Riverside plant to the Gholson Pump Station and Ground Storage Tank. The $10 million project is designed to increase water supply to northern McLennan County. It will be completed by April, utilities spokesman Jonathan Echols said.

Phillip Ericksen joined the Tribune-Herald in March 2015 as a sports copy editor. That November, he joined the news team. He has covered higher education, city hall, politics and crime.

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