With the flick of a switch, JJ Larson made dreams come true.

Cottage Grove’s director of public works was the first to manually turn on the new lights that illuminate the village water tower along Interstate 94. A brief ceremony with village officials was held Wednesday, Nov. 20.

“There’s 40,000 vehicles down this pike every day, so it shines a light on the village and all the good works and good activities that are going on around the village,” said John Williams, village president.

The water tower was built in 2014 to replace a 1940s water tower in Fireman’s Park.

“The biggest thing was when we tore down the other tower on the other end of town, a lot of people really said that was like the icon,” said Charlie Rogers, chairman of the village utility commission. “So, when we built this one, I wanted to make an effort to make it a little bit special.”

It took five years to get the lights on the tower.

“It’s a process,” Rogers said. “Government does work, but it doesn’t work fast.”

In addition to the residents who live near the tower, village officials also contacted the FAA to see if the agency had any concerns.

The tower can be seen from both directions, although westbound traffic on the interstate will have a better view. The water tower will be lit every night from dusk until dawn.

“Lighting the tower is a great way to show off and advertise our community, specifically our growing Commerce Park area near the interstate,” Larson said. “We knew the contractors were skilled and incredibly experienced experts, but I was still really surprised just how great the lighting looked when we flipped it on.”

The old tower, town down in December 2014, had a capacity of 40,000 gallons of water. The 100-foot high Landmark Drive tower has a capacity of 400,000 gallons. It adds storage capacity, brings increased system pressure to the north end of the village and makes future growth to the north and west possible.

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