SOUTHINGTON — A million gallon water tank that has improved flow to hundreds of homes on the east side of town was officially dedicated Saturday to the man who sold the town a portion of the land he grew up on.
Water Department officials and family met at the tank, which went into operation in October, to thank Warren Smith on the eve of his 93rd birthday for selling the land to the town.
“It’s gone to a great cause,” Smith said, after riding up to the crowd on the back of an all terrain vehicle. “It’s my town...we’ve been here for generations.”
While he was happy to see the land go to good use, it was an emotional decision for him; the land has been in his family for five generations and he used to walk through it on his way to Flanders School decades past.
“Sometimes it wasn’t easy when I was two feet tall and there was two feet of snow,” he said, laughing. “It brings back a lot of memories.”
His father was the owner of Smith Brothers Orchards, which preceded Rogers Orchards, and members of his family still live on Smith Street, tucked into the orchard. For decades, Warren Smith hunted deer and turkey on land now home to the tank, but now that he’s not stalking the woods anymore, he said he has no regrets about letting the land benefit his neighbors.
The tank is part of a pumping system providing water to approximately 700 homes in the northeastern corner of the town, said Water Department Superintendent Bill Casarella. The water is pumped up thick underground pipes from a station outside Southington High School into the tank.
The concrete construction is more durable than some of the steel tanks the department operates, giving the tank a 100 year lifespan.
“We really couldn’t have done it without Mr. Smith,” Casarella said. “He’s very proud of it.”