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Council, TTC consider plans for signs

Jon Johnson, head of the wayfinding and signage subcommittee for the Pagosa Springs Town Tourism Committee, made a progress report on the gateway monument upgrade at the monthly meeting held Nov. 14 in the Ross Aragon Community Center. His report mirrored a similar report given to town council on Nov. 7 by TTC Director Jennie Green.

“This is a concept,” Johnson said as he handed out copies of the design presented earlier that day at the subcommittee meeting. “We talked about strategies for the next few weeks. We talked about easement issues for both signage locations. We’re going to make sure we not only have those locked down, but actually moving this project to the next step, which would be sending out a request for proposals to contractors.

“We are also working with town planner James Dickhoff and having some discussion with him about soliciting bids from our two previous sign manufacturing companies. We would like to see this signage implemented, fabricated and constructed just as soon as possible.” He suggested the landscaping could begin as soon as next spring.

When TTC member Carla Shaw asked who would be responsible for maintaining the landscaping at each site, Johnson described how the TTC had done it in the past, giving particular credit to Valarie Green for organizing volunteers, but said that, in the future, the town would take responsibility. Shaw recommended it as a service project for the Girl Scouts or similar organizations.

“You would be stunned by what this gateway looked like before our little work party and Valarie got some materials donated,” Johnson told Shaw. “They just did a tremendous job of cleanup.”

“The other thing, Carla, is it is going to be lighted,” TTC chairman Bob Hart added. “So at night you’ll be able to see it. Right now it isn’t lit.”

Earlier, at the Nov. 7 meeting, Green explained to town council, “One thing we have focused on recently is providing an upgrade to the two entry gateway signs as you come into town from the east and the west. The plans, as approved by town council, for those two monument structures are extremely expensive.”

Green went on to explain, based on past experience with the existing structures, that the pricing provided by the engineering firm ($60,000 for each sign) is probably lower than what the cost will likely turn out to be.

“We wanted to come up with a solution that would allow us to provide a facelift,” Green continued, “to really enhance that welcome as people are travelling through town, but without incurring the minimum of $120,000 for replacing the two structures.”

Green then provided town council with pictures depicting both the proposed new monuments, as well as the less expensive upgrades to the existing structures.

“We have worked with the designer to create a nicer look and feel to the entrance signs basically at minimal cost,” Green said. “We’ve retained the ‘Welcome to,’ the ‘Pagosa Springs’ that you see there reflects the logo that we use for tourism marketing, the ‘Established 1892’ provides the historical value for people coming to town, and the tag line there that we’ve added is ‘World’s Deepest Hot Spring.’”

As a side note, certain information tentatively proposed for the signage will likely need to be changed. According to records, the Town of Pagosa Springs filed the paperwork for incorporation with Archuleta on March 5, 1891, not 1892 as the proposed sign claims, so facts will need to be checked before actual work begins.

“The tagline we use for marketing has been ‘Refreshingly Authentic,’” said Green, “ but we felt that as people are coming into town, to make sure they saw we had the world’s deepest hot springs, it may actually entice some people to stop and pull over and check out that landmark, whereas ‘Refreshingly Authentic’ would not necessarily cause people to pull over.”

Green went on to explain that the upgraded sign would have a backlit display, so it would be more visible at night, and would include more landscaping. With the new electrical system and a cistern to water the landscaping, the cost for each sign is estimated at $15,000 with a total of $30,000 for both, which is in the 2012 budget on the wayfinding and signage line item.

“So it’s not additional money to be spent,” Green concluded. “It’s just, we wanted your input and hopefully you guys like the design that the subcommittee has spent many, many hours getting to.” Green also explained that if the TTC ever does have enough money to afford the new $60,000 monuments, the electrical and plumbing would already be in place because of the upgrades.

ed.fincher@pagosasun.com

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