Water tower art project coming together
Artist putting creative touch on West Memphis landmark
Artwork on the historic Cotton Compress water tower entered its final phase last week. The modern sculpture featuring steel cable strands from the tank to the ground will be adorned with color rods and LED lighting this week. But it will be a while until city residents get to see what they spent $240,00O for over the last two years.
Goals to reveal the art work have come and gone beginning with Independence Day 2017 and then New Year’s Eve. Problems with the anchor design, cable weight, electric power supply, durable medallion treatment, and weather served to postpone the project at various points for more than 18 months.
Main Street West Memphis Director Deborah Abernathy delivered an update Monday afternoon.
“The water tower has entered it’s last phases,” said Abernathy. “Colored rods will be going on the metal cables and they are taking care of the lighting. Hopefully that will all finish this week.”
The director indicated landscaping treatments would be planted in the spring and the whole sculpture lit for the first time in a yet unscheduled grand unfurling.
“We plan something in April, a kind of grand lighting,” said Abernathy.
Artist Randy Walker had agreed to tutor school art classes and visit about the West Memphis project.
“It will be nice to make a big event out of it,” said Abernathy. “In the meantime there will be some light testing.”
The city went with the LED light project without a warranty despite the failure of the Gateway Lights under the Interstate Interchange at Missouri Street and at the Interstate bridges at Ingram and College Blvd.
City Councilman Wayne Croom specifically asked about the lightening guarantees in city council when the water tower sculpture project was approved.
Then city councilwoman and Main Street Board Member Ramona Taylor provided assurances.
“Main Street will take care of the lights,” said Taylor.
Last fall Taylor met news media at the base of the tower for a progress report and pointed to the success of other Phillips Lighting projects in the area like the Mighty Lights on the river bridges. The Gateway lighting project was scheduled on the leading edge of the technology and the fix became impossible when the installation contractor WATER TOWER
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folded. “It’s amazing the trouble we have had given our
lights with the success using the same lighting as on the Big River Crossing,” said Taylor.
By John Rech