The devil is in the decals and the details of a plan to repaint what is perhaps Nixa's most visible water tower.

Water Tower No. 5 sits south of Eagle Stadium, where thousands of high school football spectators gather on Friday nights each fall. The tower is a can't-miss view for anyone driving onto or near the Nixa High School campus. It's getting a makeover soon, and it will cost $40,693. The cost was not part of a debate that opened up at City Hall on April 26.

The Nixa City Council voted 6-0 to approve a bill entering the city into a contract with Hogan's Inc., to paint the 750,000-gallon water tower.

The tower will be painted by Aug. 1, in time for high school football season. It will also have two decals emblazoned on the tank, which are the sticking point.

"During the last meeting, council expressed a concern regarding the logo selected to be painted on the tower. It was staff's intent to begin a program of implementing a consistent branding on the towers as we discussed in the strategic plan," Nixa Director of Public Works Doug Colvin said.

Colvin, when asked by city council members, investigated whether or not changing the logo this late in the negotiation would drive up the cost, said he didn't believe it would make much difference.

"Though we don't have a direct answer of how much that would be, quite honestly, I don't anticipate it to be anything if we stay within just a couple of colors and it's basically about the same size," Colvin said. "They don't actually manually paint those anymore, it's more like a decal, and so I don't see there being a cost associated with a change."

However, time proved to be an obstacle for new water tower logos, especially requests for complete redesigns or one-of-a-kind artwork in the waning moments of negotiation.

Colvin and his staff drew up plans for the Nixa Utilities water logo, which features a blue "X" logo with "Nixa Utilities" written in black letters. The logo is featured on another water tower, Tower No. 8, off of South Norton Road near the intersection with Rosedale Road.

The blue logo drew criticism from some who perceive it to be too boring for a prominent place in Nixa's skyline.

Nixa adopted a strategic plan in 2020 that will serve as a blueprint for decision making through the end of 2025. It's meant to be more of a guiding document than a set of hard, fast laws. A 15-member committee of citizens drew up the document.

"Maybe we took their desire and misinterpreted it for some reason?" Mayor Brian Steele asked.

District 2 Councilwoman Amy Hoogstraet was part of the Nixa Strategic Plan Committee, which never conducted a vote specific to water tower logos. The committee did have input on the set of six different "X" logos that different city government departments in Nixa use, but the committee never spelled out specific logo desires for water towers.

"To be honest, I felt like the intent was to have something a little bit more interesting," Hoogstraet said.

"And that's fine," Colvin said. "What I remember was they wanted us to standardize."

Colvin said that the strategic planning committee, Nixa City Council and utility department staff never reached a consensus on what "standardize" meant in the case of the water towers.

"I think everyone agrees that the blue logo does not necessarily extend the thing that we want to extend. It doesn't seem 'Nixa.' It doesn't look like anything else in town. It doesn't match up. It identifies the water department," Steele said. "You're required to buy water from us, so we don't really need to advertise the water department."

Nixa Chamber of Commerce President Chris Russell asked the city council to consider something unique for the back side of the tower.

"Man, what an opportunity, even--who cares about whether we have our Nixa logo on it or whatever? What if we had something unique or different?" Russell said. "This is what towns do to give back to their community."

The side that faces the home stands at Eagle Stadium will have a Nixa Public Schools logo with an eagle. The back side, which faces Gregg Road, is up for debate. It will likely get the city of Nixa's base logo with a red "X" design in lieu of the Nixa Utilities water logo in blue.

Mayor Steele said that starting from scratch as Russell suggested would not be an option if the tower is to be painted by Aug. 1.

"I don't think we have enough time to redesign or do something else," Steele said.

Nixa Director of Communications Drew Douglas shared that this might not be the last time that the city council debates water tower logos. His department, acting off the directive to pursue consistent branding for all things city government, will be going through a rebranding process that could lead to the development of new logos.

"There could be some updates that come out of that this year," Douglas said. "It would take us about six years to get that rolled out over time."

Water tower maintenance in Nixa is staggered so that one or two water towers are painted per year, meaning that it would take at least six years to put new logos on every tower in the system.

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