Surrounded by a town known to embrace the visual arts, the 2013 Tank of the Year helps draw deserved attention to a blossoming community. Towering above the city of Mt. Vernon, IL, with a vivid, intricate wrap-around motif and tagline that reads, “Creativity Redefined,” this elevated water tank represents a proud town in the midst of an important change.

This water tank’s new look is part of a rebranding effort for the City of Mt. Vernon. “In 2012, the City hired an outside company to help develop a new logo,” said Bonnie Jerdon, Director of the Mt. Vernon Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We wanted to create some continuity and increase our amount of visitors.”

The Brand Leadership Team, a volunteer group consisting of several civilian members and one city council member, worked with this outside company to create festivals and other events to direct more attention toward Mt. Vernon. The logo that the team created is now being used at these events and in publications, marketing efforts, and wayfinding signage. “We set out to incorporate this new look so the local community could have something to rally around, to increase community pride,” stated Jerdon. “The new water tank presented another opportunity to use the logo.”

At the time, the city was in the process of building a 500,000 gallon, 150-foot tall elevated water tank that would sit on the west side of town, visible from Interstate 57 and located near a city hotspot, Times Square Mall. The Brand Leadership Team decided to adorn the tank’s bowl with the new logo and create a related, colorful design that would captivate the passerby and local alike.

“It’s not every day that you see a water tank’s design painted from the bottom of the pedestal all the way up,” said Doug Hansen, Director, Water Tank Market for Tnemec. “Out of the 200+ water tanks nominated for the Tank of the Year contest this year, the appearance of this tank really stood out.”

The shinning exterior and interior coatings systems were manufactured by Tnemec Company, Inc. All exposed steel is coated with Tnemec’s flagship water tank topcoat, HydroFlon – an industry standard for superior protection against UV degradation and other harmful effects caused by atmospheric exposure. “Not only has Mt. Vernon created a landmark invaluable to the local community, but they have protected it to last for many years,” commented Hansen.

The plated steel was fabricated by CB&I and coated in-shop with a moisture-cured, zinc-rich aromatic urethane primer, Series 91-H2O Hydro-Zinc, on both the interior and exterior. The steel was delivered to the jobsite already primed. The interior steel was then painted with two coats of Series N140 Pota-Pox Plus, a potable water coating certified in accordance with ANSI/NSF Std. 61.

The exterior steel received an intermediate coat of Series 73 Endura-Shield before the finish coat was applied. The finish coat, Series V700 Low VOC HydroFlon, was specified in the color “Tank White.” This version of HydroFlon meets area air regulations and provides extremely long-term maintenance cycles with excellent color and gloss retention.

The tank’s top-to-bottom mural of spiraling, bubble-like shapes was coated using HydroFlon, too. “They submitted several colors and we provided them with options in every shade,” said Mike Cerruti, local coating consultant with Coating Solutions, LLC in Eureka, MO. “They ended up using two gallons of seven different colors for the logo and design.”

The logo itself was painted by Missouri-based contractor, Trikote LLC. “To create the design and leave sharper lines, the painter cut patterns out of house wrap material,” explained Cerutti. “Once the stencils were cut out, they applied the many colors of HydroFlon using brush and rollers.”

The end design was photographed and submitted by Trikote’s owner, Rod Reinneck, for Tank of the Year. For the first time, Tnemec opened up the contest vote to the public, placing all eligible water tanks on a website and allowing people to cast their ballot for their favorite. After a two-week period, Mt. Vernon had 759 votes, making it one of the top 12 tanks. The final judgment was reserved for Tnemec’s panel of water tank enthusiasts, who chose Mt. Vernon over the other 11 tanks.

“The other tanks were impressive to say the least,” added Hansen. “Each tank was unique and memorable and made a lasting impression on both the Tank of the Year judges and on their communities.”

The other tank entries, listed in alphabetical order, were from Albany, N.Y.; Brookfield, Ill.; Dayton, Ohio; Grove City, Ohio; Lincoln, Neb.; Perham, Minn.; Queensville, Ontario, Canada; Randolph, Neb.; Silvis, Ill.; Union Grove, Wis.; and White House, Tenn.

The 2013 Tank of the Year is one of the many artistic draws to the town. Mt. Vernon is also home to the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, a regional visual and performance arts institution consisting of 90-acres worth of fine art in three galleries and a large-scale sculpture garden. Cedarhurst offers many community events throughout the year, including the Cedarhurst Art and Craft Fair which thousands of people, many from outside of the state of Illinois, have attended since 1977.