Coming water tower needs a little color

City of Farmington Hills to choose design for tower exterior

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Farmington Press | Published April 2, 2013

FARMINGTON HILLS — The city of Farmington Hills is looking to display a little bit of artwork. But for this project, the original design won’t be hung in an intimate gallery — it will be featured 200 feet above the city.

The city is teaming up with the Farmington Hills Division of Public Works and the Cultural Arts Division to seek out design proposals for its new water tower, expected to be complete by the summer of 2014. The tower is slated to stand near Halsted and 12 Mile Road, on the DPW grounds.

According to Karen Mondora, civil engineer in the Department of Public Service, the $16.9 million tower was approved last spring with the goal of saving residents from paying too much for their water.

“The storage tank will save the city of Farmington Hills residential customers an estimated $3.5 million per year,” she said, explaining that the city will not be charged any more by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department for peak-hour usage. “We pay a premium to use water whenever we need it. During the peak-usage periods, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., when everyone’s getting ready to go to work, we’ll draw water from the tower instead of the city of Detroit’s system, so we can offset that demand and keep usage below a specific contract value, and we’ll pass that savings on to the water system users.”

Mondora said the tower still has more than a year before its completion, but progress is being made: The foundation is in place, and the main pedestal, which supports the 3 million-gallon tank, is being constructed. She explained that, once a design is chosen to go on the tower’s 29-by-345-foot exterior, it will be painted onto the surface while the tank parts are still on the ground. Besides minor touch-ups and preservation, Mondora expects the design will stay in place for several years.

Design submissions are welcome from adults as well as students in ninth grade and above. According to a statement released by the city of Farmington Hills, the designs must include the official city logo, either as an addition to the design or as the focus of the piece. Artists are encouraged to submit artwork that represents the community and the city’s many assets. The work should be scaled to fit the tower’s dimensions, and would either wrap around the tower or be seen on its two opposite sides, each measuring about 29 feet by 173 feet.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution to contract with Oakland County last year to finance the tower and the infrastructure improvements necessary to make it work. The county will issue an estimated $16.9 million in bonds to finance the tower, and the city will reimburse the county for the full cost. The county has a better bond rating than the city, so it can get a better interest rate.

Design proposals, clearly rendered and in full color, can be dropped off or mailed to the Cultural Arts Division at the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Submissions can also be emailed to Nancy Coumoundouros, cultural arts supervisor, at The deadline for submissions is June 11. For more information, including information on how to receive a .jpg version of the city of Farmington Hills logo, call Nancy Coumoundouros at (248) 473-1856.