While Village Chief Randy Glysch recently got into action, announcing his plans for a public art project in Oregon after receiving two grants, one of the projects has been in the works for two years.
An 18-foot-tall replica of the Tin Woodman is in the planning stages for the corner of Park Street and Janesville Street.
About two years ago, Glysch began a conversation with Gail Simpson and Aristotle Georgiades of Actual Size Artworks.
Actual Size Artworks is a collaboration between two sculptural artists who create large-scale public art projects.
They both lived in Stoughton and received MFAs from the Art Institute of Chicago. They both teach art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Glysch told the Observer that the pair had long admired the Tin Man water tower in the city centre and wanted to create the landmark sculpture as public art.
The water tower and the pump house that runs it were built in 1899. Originally, the tower was a 15,000-gallon wooden barrel, but in 1921 it was replaced by a 30,000-gallon steel drum, known locally as “The Tin Man.”
The water tower is 100 feet high and has four steel support legs supporting the steel water tank. Its nickname comes from being designed in the “classic tin man” style, which was once a common form of tank design and was first introduced in 1894.
The water tower and pump house were decommissioned in 1981, and the public works department used the brick house as a warehouse.
In 2007, villagers launched an initiative to inscribe both buildings on the National and National Historic Registers.
Glysch has his own attachment to the Oregon Skyline Monument — when he moved to the village in 2013, Glysch became a member of the Oregon State Historic Preservation Commission.
Since Glysch is a master gardener, a neighbor approached him to help with some landscaping around the building to improve its appearance.
It was then that Glysch learned that several attempts had been made over the years to restore and remodel the interior of the damp and disrepaired two-bedroom building.
He was able to help raise an $80,000 donation for the project, which opened in May 2015 as a refurbished building for the Oregon Welcome Center.
The fresh and bright brick building then set its sights on the rusted and dilapidated steel water tower.
The village provided $88,000 for its restoration and raised an additional $30,000 in private donations.
It was given a fresh coat of paint, a new weather vane, and was lit up for the first time ever.
The project was completed in June 2017.
Now, Glysch is working to bring an 18-foot replica of a 100-foot tower to the corner of Park Street and Janesville Street.
He was able to privately raise $35,000 for the project, which is currently in the planning stages.
Tiny Tin Man will light up at night and say “Welcome to Oregon” on it.
Searl Electric and Alliant Energy are also partners in the project.
The proposed public art installation still needs to go through all approval processes in the village, Glysch said.