After another round of funding by the state Legislature, work is expected to begin on the restoration of the Yelm Water Tower this summer, according to a press release from the city.
A nonprofit supporting the 125-foot structure, which is listed on the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s Heritage Register, was the recipient of $300,000 in the state capital budget this year. That’s after the same nonprofit, Save the Historic Yelm Water Tower, successfully lobbied for $154,400 in the 2018 budget.
The city gave credit for progress on the project to “the advocacy of our local residents and business owners.”
“Before long, the iconic tower will be a community art piece in the heart of town with fresh paint and outfitted with LED lighting with an impressive arrangement of different features and colors to coincide with the holidays and other special events,” the press release reads. “The project will also include new fencing, landscaping and an interpretive kiosk to tell the story.”
Save the Historic Yelm Water Tower was founded by local business owner Steve Craig, who anticipates the preparation, sanding and painting will be finished before the end of summer with the lighting expected to be complete by the end of the year, according to the press release.
“The tower is a big part of our history and served as the foundation that allowed us to grow into
the community that we are today and continues to serve as a reminder of our past and a familiar welcome sign when coming into town,” the city wrote. “We are appreciative of the efforts by the nonprofit to save the tower and look forward to seeing the 125-foot structure come back to life as a community art piece that we can all be proud of.”
The now decommissioned 500,000-gallon water tower was built in 1946 by the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company to replace two 1,000-gallon pressurized tanks when Yelm was added to the Thurston County Fire District No. 2 in 1946, according to the city.
It is maintained by the nonprofit, whose members include Craig, Margaret Clapp, Barrie Wilcox, EJ Curry and Beverly Vines Haines.