“I had to call to find where it was,” she said.
The water board completed its move into the refurbished Watermark Tower Monday morning. The move to 931 Noble St. came after a long-anticipated location switch following the board’s acquisition of the building in 2006. Since then, local investors have bought the building, and the board now leases office space from them.
“This move has been a culmination of between five to six years of planning,” said Rodney Owens, assistant general manager of the board.
Although Anniston residents may not notice an obvious change in service other than the new location, Owens said that better technology should lead to more efficient customer service and account support. Programs that employees use to help customers have been made more user-friendly and productive thanks to the improved technology, which includes updated phone and computer wiring, Owens said. He said he hopes this will lead to better service.
“From a day-to-day type perspective though, a typical customer will not see any of that,” Owens said.
The new location also has a drive-through, but no on-site parking is available.
Water Works director Jim Miller said the cost has been calculated at an additional 25 cents per month per customer –- enough to buy about 100 gallons of water.
Owens said that by the end of the current seven-year lease, the Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board would be able to stay in the building at virtually no additional cost to residents.
Anniston resident Belinda Goodbread had mixed feelings on the new location. Although she found parking to be less convenient than it was at the 11th Street location, she said it was nice that the office was up and running in the Watermark Tower.
“It’s good to see it back in use,” she said, referring to the tower. Once known as the AmSouth building, the tower was empty for years after a 2003 fire that forced tenants out of the building.
The use of the building means a lot for the downtown Anniston community, said Betsy Bean, executive director of the Spirit of Anniston, a downtown development group.
“It’s a huge draw for downtown,” Bean said. “It had been standing there for years and years burned out. It’s going to be kind of the pride of downtown now.”
The city of Anniston, which bought the old water and sewer board office, has a general idea of how the space may fit into the city’s development, but no final plans have yet been approved.
Star Staff Writer Kristy Shaulis: On Twitter @KShaulis_Star.