Basalt officials hope their town is a little easier for tourists to find starting today.
The town dedicated a “monument sign” Wednesday in the roundabout at the main entrance to town on Basalt Avenue.
The sign was designed by landscape designer Nick Aceto and selected in January in a juried competition. It features columnar basalt tiles that run its length and riveted steel in the shape of a mining sluice box and additional steel representative of a trestle on a train track. It’s a nod to Basalt’s heritage as a railroad town.
The sign says, “Basalt,” in large type, with “Welcome” in smaller type and “Confluence of rivers, recreation and culture.”
Lynne Mace, a member of a committee that worked with the Basalt Chamber of Commerce and Town Hall to get the sign, said such a creation is vital for any town.
“It’s especially important for Basalt. Once the highway (bypass) went through, it was hidden,” said Mace, a gallery owner who is active in civic affairs.
Bennett Bramson, another member of the sign committee, said the monument sign relates to Basalt’s economic viability. The downtown core is located off the highway and isn’t easy to find. Many tourists were left with the impression that Basalt consisted of a Valero gas station on Highway 82, he said.
Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt credited Mace and Bramson with being “happy naggers” who lobbied town officials to make the sign project happen. The town spent about $30,000 on the sign, said James Lindt, a town planner. Aceto earned $2,500 in the design contest.
Heather Smith, president and CEO of the Basalt Chamber of Commerce, said the monument sign will be incorporated into a way-finding project to guide tourists downtown. Windsocks will be put up as guides.
A broader goal is eventually to erect similar signs in other sections of town — Willits, the Basalt Business Center on the south side of Highway 82, and Midvalley Design and Industrial Center along Willits Lane. They will use the branding established by Aceto’s design, Mace said.