This was the year the Oregon community finally witnessed the painting and lighting of the village’s historic downtown water tower.
After years of hope and discussion, the 100-foot-tall tower was painted silver in April and lighted in June.
A June 6 lighting ceremony at Waterman Triangle Park capped a years-long effort to dress up the water tower into a landmark. There are now 12 LED lights along the catwalk and four lights, one on each leg, that point up to the bottom of the tank.
Local organizer Randy Glysch began soliciting donations to paint and restore the tower in the summer of 2015, shortly after successfully renovating the 1899 pump house – now the Oregon Welcome Center – which sits beneath the iconic structure on Janesville Street.
The roughly $85,000 water tower project, which Glysch dubbed the Tin Man, also involved welding repairs to the tower ladder and repairing a “frost box” that surrounds the vertical fill pipe. The painting cost $62,500, and the lighting came to $11,680.
Glysch raised some $30,000 for the effort, and village borrowing covered the rest of the cost. He said the refurbished tower, with its empty 30,000-gallon tank, will be clearly visible from U.S. Hwy. 14.
To maintain the tower’s historic integrity, Glysch and village officials decided not to put the village’s name on the water tank.
“People are asking if we’re going to paint the word ‘Oregon’ on it,” Glysch told the Observer in November. “Because it never had that, we chose not to. Maybe that makes it more unique.”