The author acknowledges the opinions expressed in this piece are his own opinions, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Townsquare Media Sedalia-Warrensburg, or it's other employees. 
On Monday night the Sedalia City Council rejected a $57,000 contract with Viking Painting to apply the City's logo and tagline on Sedalia's water towers. The main reason is that money could be spent better elsewhere. Like improved infrastructure, sidewalks, city streets, or mowing more lawns. Are the councilmembers, and their constituents who swayed them to vote no being short-sighted in poo-pooing the issue?

I'm not interested in taking Council members Hiller, Foster, Robinson, Bloess, and Boggess to task for voting no if communications with their constituents raised concerns about how their tax dollars are being spent. They should be commended for taking that position.

My question to Sedalians who feel the money can be spent better elsewhere. You do realize the bulk of the $57,500 cost was covered by $40,000 raised by the Sedalia Lion's Club? You are aware the City doesn't get to take that $40,000 and spend it on something else, right?

So the City only has $16,800 to put into whatever Sedalians think the City needs. I don't know a lot about City planning, but I don't think $16,800 is going to get many new sidewalks built or cover any impactful infrastructure improvements. I suppose that cash could have City staff mow some lawns that need it though.

The real question is, what's the value of putting the City name and logo on the water towers? Civic pride? Advertising? Who's going to see it?

Councilman Tom Oldham thinks it's a great way to express what the City of Sedalia is about. He also believes there's nostalgia involved for those who maybe met up at the water tower, shared a first kiss there, or even attempted some teenage vandalism to the water tower.

I think he's right from the standpoint that water towers are a good way to let all know what the town is about. Assuming that the town's logo and slogan do a decent job of conveying that. And yet, who's going to see that message every day? Sedalians, and people who work in Sedalia for the most part. I'd hope if you spend a lot of time in town or live here, you don't need a slogan on a water tower to know what the town is about.

When I think about water towers that do proudly proclaim what town you're in, and I don't think about them too much, it's my hometown, Oak Lawn, Illinois, and the Boonville one you can see from Interstate 70.

Soon after we moved to Oak Lawn they put up a water tower on a patch of land at the town line that rose right behind the billboard and flower bed that proclaimed "Welcome to the Village of Oak Lawn." Right on the main drag that many take coming in and out of town. It still melts my heart when I drive past it today.

In the case of Booneville, the water tower signals where you'd get off of Interstate 70 to reach the towns' I lived in the very first few months of my life. As a kid, it would always spur my parents to tell stories of their Missouri years. Aside from that bit of nostalgia, as an adult -- road tripping to Missouri it signified I wasn't far from my road trip destination. Today, it signifies that I'm not far from home, and makes me wonder what happened to  the dude from Boonville who lived across the hall from me freshman year of college.

Of course, the Sedalia water towers aren't exactly strategically placed to have either of those impacts. The West 16th Street water tower is visible to fairgoers, yet, unlike the towers in my hometown or Booneville, they are less of a landmark for the City than say if it was along Highway 50 or Highway 65 coming into and out of the town.

Which makes me ask the question: what about City pride? It seems an awful lot of what makes Sedalia a nice place to live with some infrastructure above and beyond the basics comes from benefactors like Sue Heckart or the Hayden family. Sure, our tax dollars, personal donations, or user memberships may support the operation of some of their gifts, but they certainly wouldn't have been built if the City had to shoulder the burden of making those projects happen.

Sometimes it's nice to do something like put the town name on the water towers not because we have to, but because we can. Because someone will see it, think it's neat, snap a photo and write something nice about our town. Maybe it's someone local talking about how great their hometown is. Or maybe it's a visitor talking about the fun time they had at the fair, or biking the Katy trail, or whatever.

I'm sure the Lion's Club will either return the money to donors or find some other way to help Sedalia Community with the money they raised, because that's what Lion's do. I  propose some signs and maybe a flower bed under the signs welcoming folks to our community along Highways 50 and 65. That would be nice and could probably be done for $40,000 or less

I also thank God for those whose vision for Sedalia goes beyond the basics, because sometimes it is about civic pride, and things like a community center, an arts foundation, a monument, and even the town name on a water tower. While it may be hard to quantify, I think these things are important to healthy, thriving, communities.

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The Art Room Building, at 304 West Main Street, in Sedalia, Missouri is one of the more unique living spaces in Sedalia. The building is home to The Art Room, a business that offers art classes and art-related gatherings, as well as a completely remodeled vacation rental space. The building is for sale and being offered by Sarah Stone of Platinum Realty of Missouri. You can check out the listing here.

Gallery Credit: Rob Creighton

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Check out pictures from this wonderful Victorian-era home on Broadway Boulevard that is listed for sale on Zillow from Platinum Realty. The home's current owners list it as a vacation rental as well. You can check out their listing on Vrbo.

Gallery Credit: Rob Creighton

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