The Hillsdale water tower has a new paint job, but not everyone is pleased with the makeover.
Former Board of Public Utilities director Mike Barber said the tower hadn’t been painted since 1997. Renovating it required sandblasting, both inside and out, and recoating it with a special epoxy paint.
In June, the city council unanimously voted to approve two bids for preventative maintenance and painting for the South Street water tower.
Seven Brothers Painting Inc. submitted the lowest bid, agreeing to complete the paint job for $266,400. The job was completed earlier this month.
Debate over the restoration began in early October when residents first voiced complaints, saying the money put toward its renovation should have gone to areas of greater need.
“We can’t pave the roads or sealcoat West Street, because it’s too cold, but we can paint a water tower,” Hillsdale resident Chad Ha said in a Facebook post.
Others agreed, claiming the city council cared more about the outward appearance of a water tower than they did the convenience and safety of roads.
Local Michael Mitchell said on Facebook that repainting the water tower is a maintenance item and it helps prevent corrosion.
“Clean safe drinking water is more important than roads, ask Flint or Toledo how things go when you can’t drink or shower,” said Rob Cooley, another resident.
After the tower had been painted, residents questioned the look of the its new design. Hillsdale resident Penny Swan said the new colors do not match anything else in the city.
“The council approved the painting of the tower but not the colors,” she said in a post on Facebook.
Swan told The Collegian that the water tower should match the entrance signs and other Hillsdale ensignia.
“I feel it was a bad choice and decision, because it matches nothing else in the city,” she said.