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Sponsor may appear on Huron water tower

Andy Ouriel • Jan 27, 2014 at 1:40 PM

A person would need 6.4 million 20-ounce Aquafina bottles to completely fill the Huron water tower at Rye Beach Road and Ohio 2.


But to paint the massive structure?


You’re talking about fronting almost as much cash as Sheldon and Penny make per episode on the TV sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” Huron officials, realizing the rather bleak water tower needs a touch up, simply don’t have $300,000 in their budget to fully cover paint costs.


That said, they’re trying to leverage funds from elsewhere to reduce their share of expenses, sparing city taxpayers further financial burden.


A funding proposal for the $300,000 project, scheduled for completion in 2015, breaks down as such:


• A state grant covering 50 percent of the total cost, or about $150,000.


• The city of Huron and Lake Erie Shores & Islands putting up $75,000 apiece. Huron city manager Andy White brokered a preliminary deal with people representing Erie County’s premier tourism bureau.


The compromise: The tourism agency would help cover costs if they could have a large input on the tower’s design. It’s expected any design on the water tower would resemble the “welcome” signs at Milan Road and Ohio 2.

Another stipulation: The “Lake Erie Shores & Islands” insignia must be stamped on the tower. Fine with White and others. “We want to utilize that asset as a tourism attraction” White said. “We want to promote advertising but defer the cost of it for our city”

When Cedar Point is open, studies show about 4 million people each year exit Ohio 2 at Rye Beach Road.

The investment makes sense for Lake Erie Shores & Islands representatives, considering advertising on billboards and other structures costs much more than on Huron’s water tower.

“Lake Erie Shores & Islands would like to participate in this venture to increase brand awareness and provide a sense of welcoming or arrival into the region,” said Dawn Weinhardt, the bureau’s managing director. “It is estimated that the lifespan of a water tower painting is at least 10 years. The cost to achieve the same level of exposure with outdoor advertisings, like billboards, would be significantly more”

Water towers typically need new paint once every 15 to 20 years.

If officials fail to make improvements, they might sacrifice the tower’s water quality, due to the metal frame rusting or otherwise deteriorating.

“Just like painting your house, you need to paint water towers to maintain them,” White said.

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