WALLA WALLA, Washington – The future of the “Welcome to Historic Walla Walla” mural painted on the side of the Mill Creek water tanks and viewable from U.S. 12 could be in jeopardy. On Wednesday, the Walla Walla City Council approved a bid award to Long Painting Company of Kent to repaint the two water tanks located at the Mill Creek water treatment plant.
City staff reported to the council that the exterior paint is fading, and the tanks are in need of being repainted. The project approved by the council does not include repainting the $30,000 mural which was originally funded by Rotary 15 to 20 years ago.
“The short of it is that the tanks are being repainted and the mural is not funded at this point,” Public Works Director Ki Bealey said.
During Wednesday’s council meeting, City Manager Nabiel Shawa said that earlier this year he reached out to Rotary leadership to see if they would be interested in funding the repainting of the mural, but no action was taken. Shawa also said the money to repaint the mural are not in the city’s general fund budget and justifying spending drinking water funds on the aesthetic element to the tanks which were installed and painted in 1999 would be questionable.
KTEL News contacted the city manager’s office Thursday and was told that while there is no funding for the mural at present, that doesn’t preclude something being done in the future.
The city will pay $338,501 to repaint the two tanks. Bealey said the work will start at the end of the month and be completed by Oct. 31