City awards bids for new water tower

The Vermillion City Council approved awarding a bid toward the construction of a new water tower, but not after a discussion as to what kind of logo should be depicted on the completed structure.

The conversation took place on Aug. 20 at the council's regular meeting.

The bid was awarded to Maguire Iron, Inc., of Sioux Falls, and involves building a 500,000 gallon spheroid tower for a total amount of $1,258,700, which includes an additional $10,000 for adding the City of Vermillion logo.

Central Ward rep John Grayson suggested using the community's name rather than the logo.

"Logos come and go, but the name of the city of Vermillion is not likely to change any time soon," he said.

"I'm against taking the logo off," said Howard Willson of the Northwest Ward. "I think we should have the logo. I think it represents the community. … It might change down the road some day, but it's going to have to be repainted down the road some day, so what's the difference?"

Lance Weatherly, representing Banner Associates, which performed a life cycle cost analysis of the project, confirmed that the estimated repainting would have to be done in 20 years, at which time the logo could be changed if necessary.

Willson moved to approve the project with the logo.

Steve Ward of the Southeast Ward then raised the question of whether the council had to act at that specific meeting.

"We haven't thought about this issue very well, and we haven't even thought about having a University of South Dakota logo on there, which might be appropriate as well. I think there's lots of room for discussion."

Weatherly said the logo was something that could be removed from discussion, and put back at a later date.

"We're probably not going to be looking at painting this tower until mid-summer next year, so it's something we could negotiate with the contractor with a change order for a different logo or to take the logo off completely if that's the council's desire," he said.

Grayson suggested opening the project to public input.

"I personally haven't had an opportunity to discuss this with anyone in town, and I think we would be well-served to add some new voices to this conversation," he said.

"I'll add a voice – I like it," responded Mayor Jack Powell.

Ward said he was sympathetic to those who wanted to get a vote done, but at the same time didn't think the issue would interfere with getting the bid approved.

"I see very little harm in spending more time thinking about this," he said. "It just came to me that, why wouldn't we have a University of South Dakota logo on there? There are several options here that none of us have really discussed, and this is a permanent thing.

"This is a big, big thing in Vermillion, and it will be out near the bypass where everyone will see it," he said.

Willson said the project should continue without the USD logo.

"They've got their own big sign up on the highway," he said. "Why don't we have an advertisement to promote Vermillion, not the university?"

In the end, the council agreed with him, approving the motion six to three.

The completed water tower will replace the existing 100,000 gallon Market Street tower. It will be located east of Wal-Mart along the south side of Shriner Street.

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