Artistic water tower unveiled in Moorhead with images reflecting the community and welcoming visitors, residents

MOORHEAD -- Moorhead will now have a silhouetted, work-of-art water tower to welcome its residents and visitors into the city. Moorhead Public Service unveiled the design of the Woodlawn water tower Thursday, Aug. 2. The tower features images ref...

MOORHEAD - Moorhead will now have a silhouetted, work-of-art water tower to welcome its residents and visitors into the city.

Moorhead Public Service unveiled the design of the Woodlawn water tower Thursday, Aug. 2. The tower features images reflective of the community, including silhouettes of Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Hopperstad Stave Church.

Su Legatt, the project's facilitator, wanted to create a water tower that displayed the identity of the town and served as a welcoming beacon when coming into Moorhead.

"I think the design of this tower is pretty reflective of the Woodlawn neighborhood," she said. "We had open houses and community surveys, members of the community were even on the design team. This is just one more example of how the city is trying to work with its citizens to incorporate public art throughout the community."

Stephen Dorsey, one of the two water tower artists along with Jack Lunde, remembers seeing the plain Woodlawn water tower growing up in Moorhead. Years later, he never imagined he'd be the one responsible for transforming the blank canvas into a work of art.

"Doing a water tower design was never on my radar. So to see this on my hometown water tower, on this scale and this height is amazing," he said. "To think of how many people will see this during the 20-25 years it's up is awesome."

The water tower artwork cost $26,000 and took 10 weeks to complete. MPS budgeted $20,000 for the artwork, which is how much it would've cost to get just the Moorhead letters around the tower, said Marc Pritchard, MPS water plant supervisor. Every 20 years, Moorhead Public Service repaints the towers as part of a maintenance plan.

A design within the initial budget was created, but Moorhead City Council and MPS voted to approve the overage for the more expensive design and split the leftover costs, he said.

"The water tower turned out really well. Anytime you can make something aesthetically pleasing like this, it's always a benefit for everybody," Pritchard said.

In addition to the Woodlawn water tower and Oakport tower, which got its artistic remodel in the summer of 2017, Moorhead Public Service will have the opportunity to approve two more towers that could display artwork, Legatt said. A new water tower will be built in south Moorhead in the summer of 2019, and the Interstate 94 water tower will begin its maintenance in the summer of 2020.