The wooden signs on the side of the major highways entering town that say "Welcome to Hastings" will soon have a new look if it is approved by City Council. The city recently asked for input on the final two design options that they have come up with through an online survey.
There was $25,000 budgeted in the general fund for the 2017 fiscal year to remove and replace one of the welcome signs in Hastings. The remaining two signs would be phased in as money is set aside in future budgets.
The cost to remove and replace the sign also will include landscaping and lighting. Unlike the current sign, the proposed welcome sign will include lighting so that it will be visible at night. It will be made out of composite material.
Council member Mark Vaughan said that the proposed material looks very realistic, is fairly durable and would involve less maintenance over time.
The planning committee of City Council consisting of Mark Vaughan, Tina Folch and Joe Balsanek narrowed the design options down to two. One is a traditional design with pillars on either side and the other is a custom design approach.
There are three welcome signs located in the city. One is on the south side of the bridge, the second is on Highway 55 and the third is near Highway 61 and Highway 316. The sign located on the south side of the bridge would be the first sign to be replaced.
"The gateways are important," Vaughan said.
Vaughan said that the signs are what people see as they approach the city and it is exciting to be able to update them.
The current signs are about 30 years old. They were placed near the city's edge at that time, but Vaughan said the city has expanded since that time. For example, the sign located on Highway 55 is located near the library, but the city has expanded beyond that with places like Target, Cub Foods and the new Allina Clinic near General Sieben Road.
The original signs were donated by multiple donors including Dakota Electric, NSP, Regina, Rivertown Days, Smead and Sprint. It is also the Smead building that is pictured on the signs.
The city presented a survey to the community on July 5 through social media in order to get feedback from the public about which one they would like to see. The survey closed on July 12.
Mark Vaughan, planning committee chair, said that even after the survey has closed he is open to the opinions of the community. He said that anyone who would like to give some input on the matter can contact him at 651-437-9866 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next step is to take the proposed sign to city council for a vote. If city council approves the design, the first of the three signs will be replaced.