Brookfield water tower due for overhaul

Keep the dolphins or not? It's up to village board

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By Bob Uphues


Since 1981, four dolphins have looked down on Brookfield from a height of 95 feet. But village trustees next year will have to decide whether those iconic blue symbols of the village, which adorn the water tower at Maple and Brookfield avenues will continue to do so in the future.

The water tower is in line for a complete exterior and interior overhaul — including a new paint job. And it's not going to be cheap.

In November 2011, the village got an estimate to make repairs and repaint the tower from Yorkville-based Dixon Engineering.

Dixon did a full exterior and interior inspection of the tower, whose spheroid tank holds 1 million gallons of water. The company recommended at that time that the work be completed within two years.

The company noted that some areas of the tower's exterior paint had rusted through, and that the condition of the tower coating was "fair." Dixon also recommended that the village schedule regular cleaning and inspections of the tank at least every five years in the aftermath of the proposed work.

Dixon estimated the cost of the work at $208,500.

The most expensive line item is the estimate for an "exterior overcoat" of paint, at $130,000. It did not include a cost for repainting the dolphins and the word "Brookfield," which can be seen on the east and west sides of the tower.

With that estimate a year old, officials expect the cost to repair the tower may have gone up a bit. As a result, they have inserted a $300,000 line item into the village's 2013 budget to account for the project, which they hope will be completed next summer.

The project will be paid for through the village's water enterprise fund, which has a reserve of about $3 million at this time, according to Finance Director Doug Cooper.

At the village board meeting on Nov. 26, trustees briefly discussed the water tower project. Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said the decision on whether to paint the dolphins on the tower once again was up to the board of trustees, since the expenditure will likely be significant.

Ginex, in a separate interview, said staff would provide trustees with options for painting the exterior of the tower. While the tower has always been painted white, it could be painted another color, one that doesn't show so much grime — the tower being right next to the railroad tracks. The underside of the tower's tank is especially dingy and dirty.

"Obviously it's a tie-in with the zoo," said Village President Michael Garvey on Friday about the dolphin design on the tower. "I guess when the quotes come back we'll see where the numbers are at.

"It's highly visible, so we want to make sure it looks nice."

The last time the water tower received an overhaul was back in 1996. James Mann, who was Brookfield's village manager at the time, said the job entailed the tower being surrounded by a "shroud" as it was power stripped. The job cost the village between $150,000 and $200,000 at that time, he said.

And, of course, there was the issue of the dolphins.

"The big issue came along: Do we put the dolphins back up there?" said Mann, who remembered that the decoration cost an additional $20,000.

"In the end, the village board said it's a symbol of Brookfield, we'll find the funds for this and pay for it."

The present tower dates to 1981, when it replaced an old-fashioned gray tank that stood nearby on the same site. Constructed by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, the tower is the tallest structure in Brookfield.

Initially, plans called for the tower to resemble a giant giraffe neck and head, with a pair of giant giraffe eyes surveying the landscape. That proved too costly, thankfully, and the village board scrapped the idea.

According to Mann, the dolphin design is actually etched onto the tank so painters won't have to freehand the images if the village board decides to include them.

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Comment Policy

Bob "The Clipper" Williamson from Brookfield  

Posted: December 13th, 2012 2:50 PM

All The Clipper can say right now is THEY BETTER BE UNION JOBS.

For a Greener Tomorrow from Brookfield  

Posted: December 13th, 2012 9:07 AM

Mr. Clipper- The green economy is filled with a forest of jobs which are best suited for organized skilled labor. Collective barginning as a whole has been unfairly scrutinized due to the many failures and inherant flaws of a carbon economy. Detaching unuions from that sinking tug and creating needs for one in the green movement is a step in the right direction.

Bob "The Clipper" Williamson from Brookfield  

Posted: December 12th, 2012 11:15 PM

The Clipper says that all of these Green Jobs which are coming to Brookfield better sure as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks be high paying union jobs. The Clipper is all for any project which advances both the causes of society, and unions. They are one and inseparable.


Posted: December 12th, 2012 7:19 PM

Jon from Brookfield:How nice,you're a libertarian.Good for you.What a touching story.

Jon from Brookfield  

Posted: December 12th, 2012 7:05 PM

John - as a libertarian, I rue the day that FoxNews became the voice of people on the right. They made it OK for people to not think, and we are left legions of people like you. Glad I dont have children! If I did I would teach them to be suspicious of government and news channels insisting they are fair and balanced.

Person who cares about the future from riverside  

Posted: December 12th, 2012 4:38 PM

I have faith in science & 98% of climate scientists say, backed up with many peer reviewed studies, that global warming is occurring and there is a man made component to its genesis. Watch the following video & be ready to walk out when it is 180 degrees. This won't happen while you are still in Brookfield, laugh laugh? We are connected to the future earth and people ; they are our children, & we care what happens with them.


Posted: December 12th, 2012 3:07 PM

Recycling is possibly the 21st century's biggest scam.Next to global warming.Next time you sort through all of your smelly garbage,ask yourself what's in it for you.Answer? Nothing.Seen a reduction in your garbage rates for doin all that sortin?Nope.


Posted: December 12th, 2012 2:51 PM

I suppose all those tires I threw in Salt creek did'nt make good fish cribs huh?

For a Greener Tomorrow II from Brookfield  

Posted: December 12th, 2012 1:10 PM

John- Sure glad that I am not your neighbor. You do know that dumping used motor oil is Illegal and fineable by EPA law. John please, moving forward store all used oils in safe transferable properly labeled MSDS container and store in and earthen berm until you can transport and take them in to a recycle facility. We the people of Brookfield would sincerely appreciate your cooperation.

Jon from Brookfield  

Posted: December 12th, 2012 1:07 PM

John - I dont care much for global warming debate, but dumping ur oil is costing money - we (including you) pay taxes for environmental cleanup. Doing stuff like that legitmizes reasons for govt - someone needs to clean up improperly disposed of toxic waste. Please write a check to the govt when you dump oil. Thansk!


Posted: December 12th, 2012 12:34 PM

Greenies:just so you're aware,I still pour my used oil on the ground out behind the garage.


Posted: December 12th, 2012 12:30 PM

Nope.Never recycle.In fact ,I put all my garbage in 1 container and let the illegals at the yard sort through it.Another day without snow.Aint it great.

For a Greener Tomorrow II from Brookfield  

Posted: December 12th, 2012 11:57 AM

John the removal and repost of your last comment in it of itself is enough said. Never was offended by the paper*** comment however in future please reference paper as being recyleable. Mark as for your comment posted on other articles, please do not ask a question you already have an answer. You do recycle don't you? Energy saving light bulbs in your house and maybe even a programable thermostat. Own a few star rated appliances? The real question that should be ask Who is Mark Roegner???


Posted: December 12th, 2012 9:02 AM

Greenie:if the village decides to tear down the water tower,and that's highly unlikely,you can volunteer to foot the bill for demolition.Hope you've got an extra 50grand laying around.

For a Greener Tomorrow II from Brookfield  

Posted: December 11th, 2012 6:57 PM

John a thing of the past is this old rusty water tower in which you dearly embrace. Mark as for being in a selling mode how about if we sell what John embraces for scrap and then sell you on wind technology.

mark roegner  

Posted: December 11th, 2012 5:00 PM

me either john then i can sell my snowblower and shovel lol


Posted: December 11th, 2012 4:42 PM

Can't wait for shoveling to become "a thing of the past".

e.e. cummings from Harvard Yard  

Posted: December 11th, 2012 3:01 PM

i now see that my writing style is catching on with some posters or perhap their shift key does not work. either way it's ok by me. e.e. cummings

Just Wonderin' from Brookfield  

Posted: December 11th, 2012 2:58 PM

With Brookfield's decision to go forward with an entirely "green" energy platform, I'd like to know if the residents are also going to get some form of real estate tax relief due to their good citizenship. Anybody know?

For A Greener Tomorrow II from Brookfield  

Posted: December 11th, 2012 1:56 PM

1st of all Kudo's Landmark for providing the readers with the new go green format. Now back to the business at large. Mark & John you are sending our environmental future off the cliff with that logic. Studies haved proved proving global warning is evident and climate change has occured. If we stay the course it will only be a matter of time before shoveling will be a thing of the past and also irreversile.

mark roegner  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 12:18 PM

nice mouth dot geez he is a former village manager. what have you done for the village dot?

Dot from Brookfield  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 10:11 AM

Jim Mann? Talk about retreads, a blast from the past. Who gives a rip what he thinks?

George from Brookfield  

Posted: December 9th, 2012 9:18 AM

Keep the dolphins!

mark roegner from brookfield  

Posted: December 8th, 2012 11:25 AM

could not agree more john. global warming for 6 billion years but al gore invented it 20 years ago after he got done inventing the internet. lol

Ellen from Brookfield  

Posted: December 8th, 2012 10:27 AM

Please put the dolphins back on when the water tower is painted! It's a great symbol of our village and a sweet memory for all of the kids who have grown up here in Brookfield.


Posted: December 8th, 2012 9:04 AM

Greenie:I could not possibly care less if it ever snowed again.With the world being billions of years old,it's truly amazing how global warming nuts think they've figured everything out about weather in a couple of hundred years of records on the subject.

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