Newton has size problem

Newton's downtown water tank has a fresh coat of paint and logo, but while it improves the appearance of the 63-year-old tank, it isn't exactly what city leaders had in mind.

"The tank was supposed to be restored to what it was before the rust and the paint started flaking off," said Newton City Manager Todd Clark.

However, when Clark and others living and working near the city's downtown saw the tank's new logo last week, something was not quite right about the "Newton, the heart of Catawba County" red and blue graphic.

"It is positioned wrong on both sides," Clark said.

But that's not all.

"It is about a third of the size it was," he continued.

A $307,000 project to refurbish and repaint Newton's half-million gallon water tank started in April. While the project won't result in the tank holding water, it will ultimately achieve a couple of goals for city officials. Among those is the tank's viability as a location for communication companies' antennas. One company alone is already contracted to lease antenna space on the tower for $22,750 in the fiscal year ending June 30. That company will also pay than $230,000 to lease tank space during a five-year period.

The tank's ability to accommodate communications antennas won't be hurt by the problem with the painted logo.

Another goal of city officials — keeping the water tower as a landmark for Newton — is a slightly different story.

Clark said that originally, the painted logo was expected to be positioned so that someone standing at the Court Square could clearly see the complete logo. Currently, the logo almost faces Newton City Hall.

"When you are standing in front of the soldier on the Court Square, you are supposed to be able to look up and see (the logo)," Clark said, "and it is supposed to be three times larger.

Renovation work on the tank is being completed by Utility Service Co., but Clark said the company subcontracted logo painting work to a third party.

"They screwed up," he said. "I think when they put it up there ....

they realized something wasn't right. They are supposed to come back and fix it."

Clark said he expects the problems to be corrected at no charge to the city. Changes are expected to be completed next week.