It's 120 feet tall, holds 100,000 gallons of water and one young Lodian said she's tired of seeing it plain and white. "I would at least like Lodi's name to be up there," said Sarah Costa, a junior at Lodi High School, referring to Lodi's water tower.
Galt, Ripon and Lockeford all have their names on their city's sky-scraping water towers, but Lodi's Greek column-like water tower has been nameless and colorless since its birth, 13 years ago. With Lodi's centennial celebration in 2006, some Lodians want to see the city represented on the landmark in East Lodi.
Costa said she's been urging city officials to do something about the tower's bland look and she's ready to make a change.
However, debates on the cost, upkeep and what should be on the tower continue.
Councilman Larry Hansen said in a City Council meeting last Wednesday that he would like to see the water tower, located near the intersection of Locust and Main streets, painted as advertising for the city and its businesses.
"It would really have a positive impact on downtown," he said. "People are going to see it, and it will achieve Lodi as a destination."
There have been talks about painting the tower, but nothing is set in stone yet, said Frank Beeler, Lodi's assistant wastewater superintendent.
Since Hansen's request, Lodi's Public Works Department will consider repainting the tower, which will mostly depend on costs that haven't been determined yet, Beeler said.
Most people suggest putting Lodi's name alongside the city's logo of a cluster of purple grapes, he said.
Someone even suggested the water tower be painted to resemble a half-full glass of wine, because the town is trying to grow in the wine industry, he added.
But Beeler questioned, "Do we really want anything with a theme? If we do, how old will that get?"
He said he's worried that a temporary theme may be picked for the tower, which would raise costs if it needs to be repainted in several years.
Hansen said he would like to see the Wall Dogs, artists who are painting murals in Lodi during Memorial Day weekend in 2006 paint the water tower as well. He said he would like them to depict the highlights of Lodi in their murals -- and the water tower.
"I would like to put a sign up that they're coming," Hansen said. "This would help generate excitement for our town if they paint our water tower."
Tony Segale, a local artist who helped paint murals with the Wall Dogs in other cities said he would like to review options for what should be painted on the water tower.
Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce said she would rather see the city's logo on the tower, not Lodi's name.
"I think it would be kind of lame," she said. "But if we put something with grapes around Lodi, that would be nice. It would be our way of putting art on the Eastside."
Hansen said some kind of key symbol of Lodi, such as Lodi Lake, Hutchins Street Square or Lodi's arch could be incorporated in any tower artwork.
Whatever it is, 16-year-old Costa has been waiting to see something other than a white tower on her way to school for the past seven years. She said she's been frequently writing e-mails and letters to the mayor, requesting a more lively looking tower.
Costa said she was excited when she saw her e-mail a few months ago. Mayor John Beckman had responded to her requests and suggested she start a fund-raiser to raise money for the artwork costs.
"It felt great," she said. "Someone was actually listening to me, and it's become a dream come true."
She's even thinking of starting a car wash to raise money for some tower work.
"We're such a great town, and I want a water tower that really represents us," she said. "I want something big and bold that says, 'Hello, we're Lodi."
Contact reporter Stephanie Jucar at firstname.lastname@example.org.