By Ryan Cornell
Hovering along Interstate 81 for more than a decade, the basket of apples on Mount Jackson's iconic water tank has apparently reached its expiration date.
According to Mount Jackson Town Manager Kevin Fauber, there are several rust spots on the inside and outside of the tank in critical need of attention, and the tank needs to be repainted.
He said the town has received two bids for the project and will continue accepting bids until 2 p.m. Monday.
The project's timetable and cost will depend on the bids, but Fauber said he hopes to have work started within the next 30 to 45 days.
"We've had differing cost estimates, but I would say it's going to be in the couple hundred thousand dollar range," he said.
Funds for the project will come from allocations in both the current year's budget and the fiscal 2015 budget, which takes effect Tuesday.
Currently, the design of red apples filling a wooden basket is plastered on 3M sheets similar to vinyl, Fauber said, that adhere to the sides of the water tank.
He said crews will most likely sandblast the sheets off the tank, prep it for painting and paint a design on it. The water tank might sport a different design depending on the bids, he added.
"The big cost is going to be the painting, the design cost for the basket of apples," he said. "We're hoping to put that basket of apples back on the tower.
"If the costs come in exceedingly high, we may have to rethink the scope of the project. Maybe go back to something that's different, a different painting of an apple or might not be able to put any design back."
The apple basket design is a nod to the town's apple orchards and Bowman Andros Products, a Mount Jackson-based company that makes apple sauce, apple butter and apple juice, according to Fauber.
"It's important to the town and I know that a lot of citizens and tourists identify that tower with the town of Mount Jackson," he said.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org