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City settles on new lettering and logo for Corporate Drive water tower

City settles on new lettering and logo for Corporate Drive water tower
The Corporate Driver water tower needs to be painted. City leaders have come up with a design and lettering concept for the 15-year-old tower in Charles City. Photo submitted
By Kelly Terpstra,

Nine-foot-tall block letters that read “Charles City,” sandwiched between two city logos.

That was the consensus of city leaders for a new paint job for the Corporate Drive water tower, pending City Council approval of the $260,000 budgeted this year for the project that also includes some repairs of the million-gallon tower near the Southwest Development Park.

Cory Spieker, Charles City Water Treatment Plant superintendent, said paint jobs on water towers last about 15 years. The Corporate Drive tower hasn’t seen a fresh coat of paint since it was erected in 2004.

“I think this was pretty much what the council and the mayor were leaning toward,” said Spieker, who took over as head of the Water Department in 2015.

The current black lettering on the water tower reads “Charles City” and sits on a blue and teal background. Spieker said that lettering is 5-feet tall. He, along with other city leaders, has suggested increasing the size of the lettering to 8 or 9 feet with a maximum height of 12 feet possible.

“This is the current iteration,” said City Administrator Steve Diers. “It would have Charles City just on the one side is the plan. We talked about maybe getting Charles City on the back side as well, but it’s not very noticeable.”

Spieker said there were two or three different logos and styles that the city considered. One was black lettering with “Charles City” inscribed on part of the tower facing the Avenue of the Saints. Two orange stripes highlighted the lettering.

The city’s new logo, which is a cog that represents Charles City’s manufacturing history, features an iconic orange image of the suspension bridge. The blue underneath the bridge represents the Cedar River and Whitewater Park. The color green at the bottom of the logo signifies city initiatives to help conserve energy and recycle.

The city logo appears on all of the new signs and kiosks recently put up around town. Diers has said at previous council meetings that he would like to trademark the logo.

“We talked about a couple different designs,” Diers said about the water tower paint job. “From our last conversations this was kind of the direction we thought we were going with. We would like to make it bigger than what it kind of shows in this depiction.”

At prior council workshops there was discussion of placing the Charles City Community School District’s Comet logo on the Corporate Drive tower or the Charles Street tower. The Charles Street water tower was built in 1972 and was last painted in 2006. There is no lettering or artwork on that tower.

“It could be next year or a year or two from now,” said Spieker about painting the Charles Street tower.

Diers said there has been $35,000 budgeted for the upcoming 2021 Fiscal Year to purchase lighting for the Corporate Drive tower.

Diers said the font for the lettering on the Corporate Drive tower will probably be similar to what is shown in the design image. The lettering would be visible to those driving on the Avenue of the Saints.

“As much as I’d like to have continuity, I think maybe for this purpose you need something that’s just maybe a little more straight forward block type, so you can really see it,” Diers said.

He said the council would likely get a chance to approve or turn down the plans for the paint job at the regular council meeting Monday, Jan. 20.

The City Council approved an RFP (request for proposal) that will be done by Dixon Engineering for around $23,000 to be able to receive bids for the project.

“They will be onsite as it’s getting pressure washed as all the work is being done to make sure we’re getting what we’re paying for,” Spieker added. “You can see rust break through on there. So it will be grinded down, primed and painted.”

Other work that could be done includes spot power tool cleaning and recoating the exterior with a polyurethane system. Included in that estimate is work to touch up the dry interior with an epoxy system for $15,000 and the installation of a screen flap gate on the overflow pipe discharge for $2,000.

A floating ring for cathodic protection would also be installed inside the wet interior of the clear well. The price on putting that mechanism in the tank is $20,000.

Spieker said the cost to build the Corporate Driver tower was $1.3 million.