Artist Joe Powers cheers during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his Lake Stevens Water Tower art piece on Thursday, July 20, 2023 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Artist Joe Powers cheers during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his Lake Stevens Water Tower art piece on Thursday, July 20, 2023 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

‘Gateway into the park’: Lake Stevens unveils water tower sculpture

The sculpture, honoring the tower built in 1907, is the latest step in the city’s push to revitalize its downtown.

LAKE STEVENS — Joe Powers stood in front of the 25-foot-tall water tower art piece he’d designed and built, his take on a historic landmark.

Several dozen people gathered Thursday afternoon for the art installation’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at North Cove Park, 1806 Main St. The sculpture pays homage to the original water tower built in 1907 on the site of the Rucker Mill, once central to the town’s industry.

Powers grinned as the Lake Stevens crowd cheered, celebrating the project that’s been in the works for a few years.

In 2021, the city put out the call for a sculpture designer. Powers, a local artist, won.

“I was so excited to do this,” he said at the ceremony, thanking city staff for taking over the installation after he suffered a stroke in November.

The sculpture stands next to City Hall on Main Street, not far from the park’s entrance.

It’s the city’s first public art piece, but there are plans for more. City Administrator Gene Brazel said the city hopes to fund new public artwork every couple years.

Russell Wright, the city’s Community Development Director, said the money for the project came from the city’s public art fund. He didn’t have the exact cost immediately available.

The art installation is part of the city’s push to revitalize its downtown. Expanding North Cove Park was a key part of the city’s 2018 Downtown Lake Stevens Subarea Plan, which laid out a vision of the park as a central gathering place.

Since then, the park’s received upgrades like a playground, a festival street and The Mill on Lake Stevens building. The vast majority of the expansion is now complete.

The goal was to “not necessarily mimic the past structure,” Wright said, ”but honor that and reinterpret that.”

A sign explains the history of the water tower on display in front of the art piece on Thursday, July 20, 2023 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A sign explains the history of the water tower on display in front of the art piece on Thursday, July 20, 2023 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The new stainless steel art piece reflects the structure of the old tower, with a modern twist. Sky blue panels at the top will be lit from the inside at night. Lights will also shine down the tower’s silvery gray legs.

The lights aren’t hooked up yet, but will be soon.

Wave-like striations going up and down the structure catch sunlight, mimicking the movement of water. Metal teardrop shapes decorate the sides.

Powers hopes the piece will serve as “a gateway into the park.”

People gathering at the park, he imagines, might one day say, “Hey, I’ll meet you at the water tower.”

Sophia Gates: 425-339-3035; sophia.gates@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @SophiaSGates.

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