Entryway sign project moves forward in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Entryway sign project moves forward in Grass Valley

An entry way monument sign 10 years in the making is finally starting to take shape in Grass Valley with conceptual designs being considered by city officials.

The conceptual design, rendered by local architect Robert Wallis, was brought forward during last week's Grass Valley City Council meeting and mulled over by council and audience members alike.

The city asked Wallis design an entry way sign for the community with materials that reflect both the historic past and strong future of the community. The design would have to be scalable in size from 20 feet tall down to 4 feet, in order to accommodate the roughly 20 potential locations where monument signs can be placed. And, in order to realize this program in a reasonable amount of time, officials said, each sign, regardless of size, will need to fit within a realistic budget and be affordable.

Wallis showed the council a design calling for 20-foot lighted entryway sign to be placed at the corner of South Auburn and Neal streets at the municipal parking lot there. A bordering wall behind the sign would be a curved brick wall and was initially thought to utilize reclaimed brick that has been used before in Grass Valley.

“The idea of the design is to give an idea if we should move forward. If you don’t like it, we can start over. ... I see Grass Valley as ascending and feel the verticality of it is appropriate.”Vice Mayor Howard Levine

Wallis drew inspiration from the vertical sign atop the Del Oro Theatre when designing the vertical element of the design. This portion of the sign consists of a half corrugated pipe supported by an I-beam in the middle that houses the letters GRASS VALLEY.

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The letters would be back lit, creating a type of halo effect around them, Wallis said.

"One thing we are looking at doing with the base, we would like to not have that seating element there," Wallis told council members, explaining his efforts to reduce the potential for folks hanging out on, or around the sign.

Reactions were mixed among community and council members.

Vice Mayor Howard Levine, who worked on an entry way sign with other committees in previous years, liked the concept.

"In my former life we talked about entryway monuments. This was one of the items we were never able to move forward on," Levine said. "The idea of the design is to give an idea if we should move forward. If you don't like it, we can start over. … I see Grass Valley as ascending and feel the verticality of it is appropriate."

"I don't dislike it, but I don't love it," Council member Jan Arbuckle said. "I think that's all I can say right now."

Mayor Jason Fouyer liked that the conceptual rendering has more of a modern design to it.

"We have in our design guidelines the wording about Gold Country architecture, so what we're ending up with is everything here in Grass Valley is starting to look like a log ride at Disneyland," Fouyer said. "It all looks like the same thing over and over and I like how this says Gold Country, but it is a little more modern."

"I think it's a great start," Councilman Ben Aguilar said. "I'd like to see the public process help guide us. It looks clean and it's in that area of South Auburn that needs a lot of work; and I think it's a great start."

"It's nice, it's just too modern for Grass Valley," one member of the audience said.

Some members of the audience said the brick wall could invite graffiti, while others questioned the cost of the monument project itself.

"We're trying to find out first if we like this, and then we will look at what the costs of it are," Council member Lisa Swarthout said.

To contact Staff Writer Elias Funez email efunez@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4230.

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