Mesa plans to spruce up landmark water tower at Falcon Field - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Mesa plans to spruce up landmark water tower at Falcon Field

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Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 7:37 am | Updated: 8:31 am, Tue Jul 31, 2012.

After standing a half-century, the pale blue water tower at Mesa’s Falcon Field is faded and no longer holds any water.

But Mesa is planning to give the tired tower a new look in the next year, which is part of a larger project to make the airport more inviting by improving aviation facilities, safety features and Falcon’s historic area.

The tower will be one of the first and most visible improvements. The city-owned airport will begin reaching out to airport tenants and surrounding residents this week to get ideas on colors or designs for the tower.

The 140-foot-tall tower hasn’t been painted perhaps as far back as the 1980s, said Dee Anne Thomas, a Falcon spokeswoman.

“The thought is if it has to be painted anyway, we might as well get some input on what people would like to see,” she said. “There’s potential to make it interesting or fun or a representation of the history of the airport. It could be a public work of art if that’s what people want.”

The $200,000 project will also improve the area around the tower and provide lighting to illuminate it at night. The airport will coordinate the look with the paint scheme on two new hangars to the structure’s west.

The tower dates to about 1960. Its main use today is to host communications equipment, but it has another practical application for pilots.

“They use it as a landmark for the area,” Thomas said. “They look for the tower to know that they are close.”

The tower is in a historic zone that includes buildings dating to 1941, when the airport opened to train U.S. and British pilots for World War II. The airport plans to repaint the WWII-era buildings, renovate the passenger terminal, improve landscaping, shade walkways and make Falcon Field Park more inviting.

Falcon wants to improve a small patio next to the terminal that’s a popular spot for visitors to watch aircraft land and take off.

“We know there’s interest in that and think it would be a nice amenity,” Thomas said.

Falcon has a $22.6 million, 5-year capital improvement plan that includes hangar improvements, pavement resurfacing and safety upgrades.

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