Upgrades, repairs ahead of schedule on Round Rock’s historic water tower

The 83-year-old water tower in downtown Round Rock will soon shine more brightly.

On Aug. 22, Round Rock City Council approved a contract for $582,000 to install LED lights along the legs and beams of the tower, across the walkway and around the ring around the top of the “witch’s hat,” or the cone structure that rests on top of the water tank. Floodlights will light up the bottom of the basin, middle section of the tank and the witch’s hat.

The lighting improvements represent the second of two phases of work. Efforts this summer have focused on rehabilitation, Round Rock Director of Utilities Michael Thane said.

“It’s a centerpiece for downtown,” Thane said. “We knew we had to make this thing look good.”

In August, crews covered the tower with a shroud, or a thick tent-like cloth, and sandblasted away layers of old paint and rust. Repainting—the same silver color with the black Round Rock lettering—was completed nearly 6 weeks ahead of schedule, Thane said.

“It’s going to be better than any other tower you see anywhere in the United States,” Thane said.

Funding for the lighting upgrades will come from the city's Hotel Occupancy Tax fund, Thane said.

This is not the first time the water tower has been rehabbed, although the current work is the most extensive set of improvements at one time, Thane said. These upgrades likely will not be the last. The paint is expected to last 15-20 years before it will need to be repainted, he said.

“These upgrades are a commitment to promoting Round Rock’s downtown and also our historic appreciation,” Thane said. “This was the first water tower we ever had. It’s the most visible symbol of our city, and we wanted to take our efforts to the next level to showcase that.”
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