by Blake Herzog
The City of Coolidge is well on its way to securing enough donations to add lighting to the iconic water tower bearing the community’s name, ensuring it will remain a focal point downtown for years to come.
City Manager Rick Miller announced at the end of October that the city needed another $19,000 to pay for an LED lighting system, which will bathe the tower in white light or a multitude of other colors, depending on which season or cause the community wants to honor.
The idea to illuminate the tower in a similar fashion to what had been done at Water Tower Plaza in downtown Gilbert first came up a few years ago, Miller said, but there was no funding available, so it was added to the city “wish list” and set aside.
The tower is owned by Arizona Water Company and is still being used to supply Coolidge’s water, a rarity for structures of its kind. Company leaders told the city earlier this year about plans to paint the water tower, asking if there were a particular color that would pair well with the shelved lighting plans.
That sparked a meeting between city and Arizona Water officials and their counterparts at the Town of Gilbert, who provided more information about how the project could work and which paint colors would reflect the light better than the tan coat the tower currently had.
As of press time, the water company is repainting the water tank a shimmery silver, and the plain-capital COOLIDGE on its side will be replaced by a 1920’s era font, honoring its 1929 origins.
The lights will be put around the base of the tank to illuminate the walls, and along the four support legs for the structure as well as the fill pipe extending from the bowl at the of the bottom of the tank, Miller said. They will be programmable from a laptop to show a wide array of colors.
City officials hadn’t factored the tower lighting into this year’s budget since it hadn’t known about Arizona Water’s plans, but were able to come up with $25,000 as a matching donation to any public contributions.
Miller and Mayor Jon Thompson began to approach potential donors to the project, even before a consultant had come back with a final cost estimate of $67,775. Pledges ranging from $200 to $10,000 came in, and the city created an account to deposit the donations into.
Miller said the tower will be fenced off since it’s still in use, but the lights will be visible for miles around, he said.
Depending on how quickly the donations come in, city officials are hoping the tower’s official lighting ceremony will be able to launch the annual Holiday Light Parade on Dec. 13.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Coolidge city officials still need additional donations to the tower lighting project in order to hold the lighting ceremony Dec. 13 as planned. Your donation can be made out to City of Coolidge for the Water Tower Lighting Project. Mail or deliver checks to 130 W. Central Avenue, Coolidge, Arizona 85128. For more information, contact Coolidge City Manager, Rick Miller. email@example.com 520.723.5361