Water tower lettering decision on hold

The city has decided to postpone any decision on what kind of lettering, artwork or logo should go on the new Gore Hill water tower.

When the city first approved the contract for the tower’s construction, the lettering was an added option that City Commissioners decided to put off until construction was complete.
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The construction contractor notified the city that their painting crew would be in town this spring to paint the pedestal a light tan color, so staff was asking the commission to choose a lettering option so that painting could be done at the same time.

Three designs were proposed, one of which was the lettering used by Visit Great Falls Montana Tourism, the Great Falls Development Authority, the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, and as of Tuesday, the Downtown Great Falls Association/Business Improvement District.
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On Monday, the tourism board opted not to contribute funding toward the additional cost of using their more intricate lettering.

On Tuesday, city staff and commissioners had multiple inquiries about other possible options for the water tower, including the Business Improvement District and Cameron Moberg, who painted murals at the Hi-Line Climbing Center and Dragonfly Dry Goods last year.
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Jim Rearden, public works director, suggested to commissioners during work session that they pull the contract from the agenda and further consider other options.

One option is to leave the tank blank, as it is now.

City Manager Greg Doyon suggested that other interested parties put together proposals with costs for the city to consider.

Commissioner Bill Bronson said if the city was going down this route it would be best to do as a design contest or formal bidding process.

Commissioner Tracy Houck said there are some talented artists in the area that could contribute and that she was very much in favor of whatever goes on the tower including the words Great Falls.

Rearden reminded commissioners that painting more than 100 feet in the air on such a large surface is different than wall murals around town. There are also some specifications related to the types of paint that will be compatible with the paint on the water tank.

The logo options that were presented during Tuesday’s meeting had a lifespan of about 15 years, Rearden said, and those options give them some guidelines in terms of lettering size.

Some have suggested that the city sell advertising on the water tower, but that would trigger issues with the city sign code that would need further review.