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Can a fire plug look perky?

fire-plug-painting

Some Evanston fire hydrants are getting a face lift this summer, thanks to a $24,000 city contract with a Chicago firm.

The city hasn't had a regular program to paint hydrants since 2006, when seasonal employees were hired for the job. Since then the painting has been postponed as one of many cost-trimming measures.

The new contract, with Alpha Paintworks of Chicago, calls for hydrants to be sandblasted to bare metal, primed and then painted the traditional red hydrant color.

Photographer Mike Perlman says he missed the sandblasting stage on the hydrant by his house, but captured an image of the primed hydrant, on the left above, and the finished job, on the right.

A hydrant with the old color scheme in use at a fire scene in Evanston.

The new hydrants will have a monochrome paint job, minus the contrasting colors used in the past to indicate the size of the water main serving the hydrant.

Utilities Director Dave Stoneback says a band of reflective tape will be added to indicate the hydrant's water flow capacity.

Hydrants are being painted this year in an area running from Main Street at the lakefront west to McCormick Boulevard, then north to Simpson Street, east to Dodge Avenue, south to Church Street, east to Asbury Avenue, south to Dempster Street, and east to the lakefront.

At this rate it will take five years to complete the hydrant-painting project across the city.

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