LIMA — At 130 feet in the air, it shouts, “Real American Strength” to about 30,000 travelers a day on Interstate 75. The Lima/Allen County branding effort is sealed across the city's new water tower. How strong? The water tank is 320 tons. The capacity is 1.5 million gallons, which weighs more than 13 million pounds. The base of the new tower is supporting all together more than 7,000 tons of water and steel, said Lima Mayor David Berger, which is as fine a metaphor as any to represent the culture and character of the community.The city and branding committee held a joint “tank raising ceremony” Thursday at the water tower, now up at Central Point Business Park, on state Route 65 north of Interstate 75. Crews raised the tank on the tower, which has been under construction since the fall. It will be complete and filled with water by June, well ahead of schedule. The tank will be filled in a day, disinfected and then emptied and refilled before it goes into service.The $2.4 million tank will help with water pressure and flow in the area today, and it will also help capacity issues for the future, Berger said.Community officials also celebrated what is to date the largest effort of the “Real American Strength” branding campaign. The logo, at 76 feet long, graces the south-facing side of the tank. On the north-facing side is the city's logo.“Using the brand is important to showing the pride we have in the culture and workforce,” said Jed Metzger, president of Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce and chair of the branding committee. “This will help guide others how to use the brand.”The logo will also be used in the new Reservoir Road bridge and noise walls in the I-75 reconstruction project. Those are all “permanent” things, Berger said, helping the brand to sink in with residents.The water tower helps current residents, will aid economic development and ensure safe flows for firefighting. The area will be landscaped, with a wrought iron fence and “green” permeable driveway, allowing rainwater to drain, Assistant Utilities Director Mike Caprella said. The tower will also have the capacity to hook up to a booster pump to deliver improved flow and pressure to areas farther away from its immediate service area, which may lessen or delay the need for another new tank. If that day comes, it will be far in the future, Caprella said.Some residents used the warm, sunny day to trek over with their lawn chairs and cameras to witness the occasion. Lenox Street resident Nancy Centers said she and her husband have kept an eye on construction. She videotaped the event because her husband was at work Thursday.“I didn't know how they were going to get it up there,” Centers said. “We've been waiting to see it for months. I'm going to bring the grandkids over to see it because they've watched it every day going past on the school bus.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.