Water Tower Design Springs from Facebook Group

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Water towers in the city of Jackson will sport a new design next month -- a design that sprung out of a joke.

The Jackson City Council approved the new design by a 4-2 vote Tuesday night, after months of consideration and reconsideration.

The new logo features a grid-like pattern in the "o" of the word Jackson, meant to signify Jackson's central location at the crossroads of I-94 and US 127.

"[The water tower is] important," said Jackson native Dustin Gilbert, who designed the logo. "I think it's a main icon that you see every time you come into a city and it should represent what the community is and give people a feel for the place."

The council had settled on a different design, but quickly found opposition from its citizens -- more than 1,600 of whom joined a Facebook group called "The Proposed Jackson Water Tower is Super Lame."

"[City Council] didn't think anybody cared and we showed them that we did and it just took off from there," said Del Belcher, who started the Facebook page as a bit of a joke.

After the page hit 1,000 "likes," Belcher said the city took notice.

"The outpouring from social media and some of the backlash we got was definitely eye-opening," said Mayor Jason Smith. "It's nice to know the community's paying attention to everything we do.Citizen interaction is always good and, hindsight being 20/20, it was probably something we should have done from the very start."

City Council Member Daniel Greer, who represents the third ward, says he's never seen any sort of push like this one, adding the wait for the new logo was worth it.

"I may not have agreed with what they named the [Facebook] page," he said. "However it did garner a lot of traffic and we got a lot more designs in the mix and I'm very pleased with the results.

"I consider it a victory for the voice of the public."

The "Super Lame" Facebook page has been taken down, Belcher said, because it has served its purpose. It will be replaced though with a Facebook Page entitled "Jackson Panel" meant to drum up the same sort of support for other community issues.

"For all the negative stuff that's out there, there's been a lot of positive stuff and for Jackson and I love it," said Belcher. "And if you live in Jackson don't let anyone tell you any different because you can make it what you want."

Designer Dustin Gilbert says he too thinks the community has sewn the seeds of progress and interaction for the future.

"It's a water tower today, who knows what they can do with a voice tomorrow?" he said.

The water tower is estimated to cost some $19,000, a price the city is trying to negotiate down. It is about $5,000 more expensive than the city's original plan because different fonts cost different amounts.

The city has already started painting the towers and expects them to be completed in the next few weeks, Smith said.

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