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Water tower may get new look

Marie Nitke/FOCUS Wear and debris is visible on the underbelly of the water tower near Heart of the Lakes Elementary School.

The Perham water tower by the middle and elementary schools might be getting a facelift this summer.

The 500,000-gallon tower has been looking a little worn in recent years, and city leaders are thinking it may be time for a fresh coat of paint.

At a meeting last week, Jade Berube of Apex Engineering Group told city councilors that the exterior as well as part of the interior of the tower were due for cleaning and recoating.

"Wear can be seen under the bowl of the tower, where dirt and other debris has accumulated throughout the years," Berube wrote in a memo to councilors.

The exterior was last coated in 2003 with an acrylic paint that generally has an aesthetic lifespan of seven to 10 years.

City staff previously had the interior of the tower investigated by Liquid Engineering, which recommended recoating the interior of the bowl, but did not believe the inside of the stem needed it for now.

The interior of the bowl was last coated in 1995 with a system that typically has a lifespan of 15-20 years.

Recoating the interior would cost roughly $150,000, while the exterior would be about $100,000 (or more, if the city chose to go with a longer-lasting kind of paint). That includes basic "Perham" lettering on the tower. Any new or additional design would probably cost extra.

Berube said city councilors would need to decide what color to paint the tower; he said darker colors tend to hold up better than lighter colors.

City Manager Kelcey Klemm said the project would need city council approval by March in order to have enough time to schedule a paint job for the desired months of June or July.