Lettering options considered for new Gore Hill water tower
The completed water tower on Gore Hill is a blank canvas and the City Commission will be asked to choose a lettering option during their March 19 meeting.
Staff has recommended the option submitted by Visit Great Falls Montana Tourism, which is a slightly modified version of their logo.
In 2017, commissioners voted to award a contract for the Gore Hill water tower replacement, but opted to wait until the tower was completed before discussing lettering options.
The contractor is planning on starting the painting work associated with the tower pedestal on May 1 and if the city decides to add lettering, the contractor needs to be directed to proceed with the work on or before March 22, according to the city staff report.
That initial design was about $10,000 more than the other two simpler design options.
On Monday, the Tourism Business Improvement District board met to consider contributing to the project to cover the additional cost of adding their logo.
Rebecca Engum, the local tourism office’s director, told the board that the city initiated discussions over the summer about the possibility of using the tourism logo. The logo is similar to the logos used by the Great Falls Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce.
Engum said the use of the logo on the water tower would help reinforce their branding efforts for the city and asked the TBID board to contribute up to $10,000 to the project.
She said she worked with the city and they adjusted the logo’s coloring for the water tower, which lowered the cost by about $3,000 and the other organizations were considering contributing to the project as well, along with the visitor and convention bureau, which would make a four-way split among them to cover the additional cost over the more basic options.
The city is also working on a wayfinding grant for the downtown and citywide, in conjunction with the Downtown Development Partnership and others. Engum said the wayfinding could incorporate tourism’s lettering and colors to give the city a more cohesive brand.
Wayfinding has been in the works for years and is likely to be a multi-year project, even if a grant is awarded.
But the TBID board’s general consensus was that the water tower logo didn’t support their mission of putting heads in beds at local lodging facilities.
City staff is recommending that the commission approve the logo submitted by tourism, which comes with a $37,600 price tag. The contractor that built the water tower would also paint the lettering.
If the commission approves the lettering, and the other tourism and business groups don’t contribute, the project will be funded through the Water Capital Improvement fund, according to public works.
The first lettering option is an estimated $27,500 and the third is $28,100. If commissioners delay their decision, it would slow the construction schedule and likely cost more, according to public works.