Murals brightening South Ogden's two water towers

Oct 10 2012 - 11:17pm

Images

The South Ogden water tanks being painted as viewed from Harrison Boulevard on Wednesday, October 10, 2012. (DENNIS MONTGOMERY/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Jill Healy De Hann, 25, a South Ogden native now living in Salt Lake City, displays her winning design for the South Ogden water tanks mural. (DENNIS MONTGOMERY/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
The South Ogden water tanks being painted as viewed from Harrison Boulevard on Wednesday, October 10, 2012. (DENNIS MONTGOMERY/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Jill Healy De Hann, 25, a South Ogden native now living in Salt Lake City, displays her winning design for the South Ogden water tanks mural. (DENNIS MONTGOMERY/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

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SOUTH OGDEN -- Those plain old water towers just above Harrison Boulevard soon will become colorful pieces of artwork created by a former South Ogden resident.

Nearly two years ago, the city invited the public to submit a mural design to cover the two towers. After reviewing 28 designs, the work of Jill Healy De Haan, 25, was named the winner.

"Her mural is beautiful," said South Ogden events coordinator Christy McBride. "It highlights much of the beauty that can be found within the city and embraces the magic of our changing seasons."

De Haan, who lives in Salt Lake City, was born and raised in South Ogden and is the daughter of Michael and Jan Healy, of South Ogden.

She said her sister, Libby Kleyn, heard about the artist search and forced a flier into her hand, encouraging her to participate.

"I assumed my design would be beat out in a heartbeat, but I was intrigued by the thought of giving back to the place where I grew up," De Haan said.

"So after letting the flier catch dust on my nightstand for a few weeks, I decided I'd give it a shot."

Her design, which she turned out over a weekend, depicts what she describes as the magical Wasatch Front with its oak brush, maples, aspens, cottonwoods, mountains, streams and flowers, similar to the place where she grew up.

"A spring-fed stream ran through our property, and I spent my childhood exploring that beautiful place," De Haan said.

"A love of my natural South Ogden surroundings and a later love of hand-

lettering and typography influenced me greatly in creating my design."

McBride said the towers, built in the 1960s, have been repainted only once. Because the city just celebrated its 75th year, she thought it would be a great time to do an overhaul on one of the biggest landmarks in the city.

"Those big water tanks that sit up on the hill are sometimes the first thing people see when they drive into South Ogden," she said.

"They haven't been repainted since the 1980s, and they were in dire need. They were faded and looking weathered, and were definitely outdated."

After doing some research, McBride said she discovered several other cities across the country had some fun with their own water towers.

"They've painted them to look like eyeballs, watermelon, ladybugs, smiley faces, everything you can imagine," she said.

After getting approval from the mayor and city council, as well as securing funds from the city, Weber Arts Council, RAMP and private donations, work on the towers began, but it has been no easy feat.

The 1 million-gallon towers, each built in the 1960s, are 32 feet high and 232 feet around. The design had to be split into 24 separate sections in order to fit onto the two towers and then projected onto the structures at night so volunteers could trace it in the dark.

Now the towers are ready to be painted.

Volunteers from the community and Golden West Credit Union will be working in shifts to complete the murals during the next several weeks.

De Haan, who graduated from Salt Lake Community College with a degree in visual art and design, said she will also be helping to paint the towers and is excited to see the finished design.

She said she hopes, as people look at the towers in years to come, they will feel welcome and get a taste of the beautiful, classy and friendly South Ogden she loves so much.

Donations starting at $100 are still being accepted for the project.

All donors will be recognized on a display wall at City Hall that has been specifically designed to mirror the image of the newly painted towers.

To donate or volunteer, call 801-622-2705 or go to southogdencity.com.

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